Mystery & suspense = a sparkling debut

False Impressions - Sandra Nikolai

Great mystery novel !

Suspense, crime, clues, false accusations... One hell of a ride!

Montreal ghostwriter Megan Scott falls under suspicion of murdering her husband, Thomas Scott and her best friend, Pamela Strober when their bodies are found at a cottage in Pineview. The autopsy declares that they were murdered by cyanide poisoning. Detectives in charge turn to the most obvious suspect, the wife. She had the perfect motive, a cheating husband and a backstabbing friend. When they discover she was really close with her client, Michael Elliot and that he might be in on the murder, they both end up as the most likely suspects. Now, Michael and Megan must fight to prove their innocence while dealing with the threat of a real murderer.

First of all, let me say that this book kept me up 'till 5.a.m. I just couldn't put it down. Just one more chapter... and then one more... and one more... but I have to know who really did it. So , I read the whole thing in one sitting. It doesn't happen that often with mystery novels where I'm concerned. It is a remarkable debut from the author, Sandra Nikolai, who will definitely end up in my shelf from now on.

Now, let me turn to the characters for a bit. The heroine of the story, Megan Scott is somewhat clueless regarding her husband's work and activities. It's actually amazing how she never suspected him having affairs and spending all of their money. I didn't really liked that side of her. But, knowing how they both had busy jobs and fast paced life, I can see how that might happen. So, the other side of her was good. From a quiet, introvert woman she turned to a crime solving, murderer chasing, helping her reporter friend with his dangerous activities kind of woman. The transformation was great. She really gained much more respect from me in that regard. The hero of the story is Michael. Her reporter friend who has wealthy parents but decides to live his life doing what he loves most - reporting. To be more accurate, reporting and uncovering major drug deals in the area. So, a dangerous kind of reporting. And Megan helps him with that while they're on the road of clearing their names and finding a real murderer.

There were two things I didn't like though.
First one was the idea that detective Moreau was hell bent on accusing Megan and Michael of murder. The guy only appeared a couple of times, first to tell Megan that her husband was dead and then bringing Megan in for questioning and again visiting her apartment while Michael was there. So, 'till almost half of the book since almost the beginning, Megan keeps on describing how this detective has certainly done this to incriminate her, or gone there, or thought of this or certainly made up that. And the guy is nowhere to be seen. He doesn't even contact her. On p.105 Megan said:

"I especially didn't want to tell her the murders had drawn not only the attention of the media but also the curiosity of one particular police detective who was prepared to pursue Michael and me to hell and back if required."

The detective only did his job and she really was the most likely suspect. She had the motive and the means. I believe that was blown out of proportion a little bit. The second thing was Dan, the lawyer. Michael hired Dan for his expertise and his reputation. But throughout the book he really didn't show any of it. Everything he has done, a first year law student could have done better. And he didn't see what Jane was really like even though they spent so much time together. But... like I said, this is really a personal likeness of a character.

On the plus side, I loved how Megan was thinking. Her inner monologues while she was alone or lost in her thoughts really had me thinking. Let me show you what I mean.

Megan: "We humans were so naive about the danger around us. We could only speculate about how often we might have brushed against its borders as we wandered through rituals of our lives, not paying attention to strangers who crossed our paths."

All in all, I really like this book. Even though I'm not a great fan of mystery / suspense genre. If it can keep me up until morning and make me make coffee at 2.a.m. so I could find out who the killer really is, then you can imagine what it can do to a true fan of the genre.

I highly recommend this book to the fans of all genres for it is a universally good read.