Monday, March 08, 2010

Book Review: Sounds of Murder - Patricia Rockwell

Way back in January, fellow blogger (and face-to-face-er) Patricia Rockwell, who blogs at Communication Exchange and Subjective Soup, asked if any of her readers were willing to provide pre-publication reviews of her novel, Sounds of Murder. I was happy to volunteer my services.

Unfortunately, it took me almost 2 months to complete the book and write the review.

Now, before you think this is a mark against Sounds of Murder, let me clarify that a lot of the delay has nothing to do with the novel's contents, and almost everything to do with the format I was using to read it: I'd already kinda suspected I wasn't the ebook kind of person, and my unsuccessful attempts at getting into Sounds of Murder can be directly attributed to my not wanting to sit in front of the 'puter and read a soft copy off of the screen. In the end I managed to find the right settings, both physical and virtual, that had me tackling most of the book in one go last weekend. Yay!

So, on to the book itself.

Sounds of Murder is Patricia's first novel, and features Pamela Barnes, a college professor who turns sleuth when a prominent member of her Psychology Department is found dead one evening. Leveraging her strength in acoustics, Pamela attempts to figure out whodunnit, preferably without alienating her very protective husband or alerting the murderer to her activities.

I found the idea around which the story was built to be unique, and looked forward to seeing how it all played out. I felt parts of the novel were repetitive, though: it seemed as if Pamela went over the same evidence/clues over and over again -- with herself, her husband, and her girlfriends -- just often enough to be tiresome.

Apart from that, the plot moved along well with concise chapters, believable dialogue and characters I'd like to get to know better -- this book might benefit from deeper characters and backstory, but then again this would be something I'd expect more of in book #2.

In many places I found myself grinning and nodding to myself as I recognised elements that put this book firmly in the "cozy" mystery genre: the keyword is definitely "gentle". Overall it was an enjoyable read, and a decent debut novel.

I'd like to thank Patricia for the opportunity to read her novel before it gets published, and wish her all the best in getting her new publishing company Cozy Cat Press up and running so that it does get published!

    Disclosure as per what I think are the FTC requirements (probably overkill, but better be safe, right?): I received a free pre-publication copy of this free from Patricia Rockwell in exchange for a review on this blog. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are totally my own. So there.

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