Book Review by Cari Mayhew.
One murder; one room; 5 suspects. Now there’s a promising description for an intense read!
The story begins when the central character, Morgan Shephard wakes up handcuffed in what appears to be a hotel room in London. Morgan is a resident detective for a daytime reality TV programme. With him, there’s a lawyer, an actress, a teenager, a coffee shop worker, and a hotel cleaner. They find a dead body in the bath – the body of Morgan’s therapist. A message from a masked man appears on the TV screen explaining that Morgan has 3 hours to identify the murderer or the hotel will be blown up.
The characters find that they cannot escape the room. Morgan runs quick interviews with the suspects and finds that they all have links to the victim, but not as strong as his own. Before the 3 hours is up, while Morgan is searching the air ducts, the one suspect accuses another and proceeds to stab him to death. Morgan becomes fairly sure that he knows who murdered his therapist and calls the name out moments before the 3 hours are up. Then nothing happens so he calls out the names of all the suspects. An explosion is then heard by all, but everything remains as it was – there was no explosion. They then discover that they are not at all where they thought they were.
The chapters on Morgan’s current settings are spliced with chapters from other points in Morgan’s life with special emphasis on his solving of a murder which made him famous at age 11, and the reader discovers who has had the longest vendetta against Morgan, and the chapters slowly spell out why.
But this does little to address the reasoning behind the presence of the others in the room until a further 2 vendettas are revealed.
I enjoyed the book and the story behind the masked man’s murderous hatred, but what I didn’t like was that the general premise of the book wasn’t lived up to. The 3 hours before the “explosion” was up at the 50% mark of the book, and the 5 suspects in the room all have incredibly weak links to the murder victim. I also think that more story could have been made around the lawyer whose big case Morgan was somehow embroiled in which was to take to trial that very day.
I found elements of the book too unrealistic, with extensive effort to bring the plotting to fruition, 1 completely needless and unnecessary victim, and an actual willing murder victim. Also, Morgan’s drink and drug dependency did nothing to aid the storytelling.
Although I was hoping for more from the book, the plot was indeed intense and I did have a great read.