Confessions of a Murder Suspect

James Patterson, Author, Maxine Paetro, Author
James Patterson and Maxine Paetro. Little, Brown, $18.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-316-20698-3
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Bestsellers Patterson and Paetro, the team behind the Women’s Murder Club series for adults, launch a YA mystery series with an implausible story with no moral center and multiple ludicrous plot twists. When the parents of four hypertalented children are murdered, emotionless 16-year-old Tandy; her musical prodigy twin, Harrison; angry 10-year-old Hugo; and 20-something NFL star Matthew become both suspects and detectives. Their abusive, manipulative parents are hardly sympathetic victims (they feed their children experimental pharmaceutical drugs and dole out draconian punishments), but the locked door to their New York City penthouse suggests that only the children—or their mother’s live-in personal assistant—could be the killers. The intriguing setup loses cohesion amid bumbling cops (key scenes revolve around their inability to find evidence right in front of them), preposterous twists, inexplicable motivations (including characters who keep secrets for their own sake), and a final revelation that cements the police officers’ incompetence. For writers with their crime-writing experience, Patterson and Paetro show little interest in common sense, motivation, or believable storytelling. Ages 12–up. Agent: Robert Barnett, Williams & Connolly. (Sept.)
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