By Isabel Allende

Harper, January 28, 2014 ($28.99)

ISBN-13: 978-0062291400
Format: Hardcover

Kindle Format: $8.49

Reviewed by Miriam Martinez
(May, 2014)

Five young people located in different parts of the world meet together online to play a role-playing game in which they pretend to solve fictitious crimes given a set of clues. Everything is just a fun, entertaining activity until one of the players, the master of the game, proposes to start playing with real crimes using real clues. It seems harmless — and easy — since she is the daughter of San Francisco's Chief of Homicides and she has access to much information; but things will soon change when it is her own mother who falls victim of an apparent serial killer stalking San Francisco residents.

The first three-fourths of the book, I was delighted to see how Isabel Allende managed her first thriller and I was becoming convinced she should stick to this genre (I love her historical fiction, but suspense for a change seemed nice). However, when the mystery was solved I must say I felt rather disappointed. Yes, it had a truly unexpected and unpredictable ending as any good mystery must have; but unfortunately, the way she handled the "unexpectedness" was by introducing unbelievable situations. As a reader, I feel frustrated when an author insults my intelligence with foolish decisions made by brilliant characters...was it really the only way to get a surprising twist to end the story? I don't want to reveal more than I should because if you are planning to read the book, you still want to find out yourselves how it ends; but just beware you'll need to make some concessions about how things are handled in the end by our clever characters who end up having a lapse of not-so-much-cleverness for the sake of unpredictability of the story.

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