Friday, 28 February 2014

Review - Confessions: The Private School Murders - James Patterson

Confessions: The Private School Murders (Confessions, #2)Title: The Private School Murders
Series: Confessions #2
Author: James Patterson
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery
Publication: October 7th 2013,  Little Brown and Company
Pages: 422 Pages, Paperback
Source: Thank you to RandomStruik for sending me this book in exchange for a honest review!
Rating: 4/5 Cupcakes!
Tandy Angel may have played the hero when she solved the case of her magnificently wealthy parents' mysterious deaths, but she isn't done yet. Her brother Matthew stands trial for homicide, young girls are found murdered all around New York's Upper West side, and Tandy is determined to use her piercing intellect to get to the bottom of both cases. But the biggest mystery of allmay be what actually happened to James Rampling, the handsome son of a family enemy, whom Tandy fell in love and ran away with--though most of her memories of the affair are disturbingly absent...
The confessions keep coming as Tandy delves even deeper into her own tumultuous history and the skeletons in the Angel family closet.
I was completely ecstatic when I received The Private School Murders in the post from RandomStruik! I read the first one, Confessions of a Murder Suspect a year or so ago, and I really enjoyed it. So I was extremely excited to receive and read the second instalment in James Patterson's latest series for young adults, Confessions.

The Private School Murders takes place three months after Tandy Angel has solved the sudden death of her parents. Tandy's family is torn apart. Their parents are dead. They are bankrupt and in debt due to their parents. The oldest Angel, famous footballer for the NY Giants, is in jail, under trial due to the suspicion of him killing his girlfriend and their unborn child. Harry, Tandy's sixteen year old twin brother, is mostly sleeping all the time and Hugo, their little brother, is trying to raise all the money he can to get Matty on bail. On top of that, Tandy has four cases she needs to solve.

Number one, private school girls are being brutally shot, across the street from where Tandy lives. All rich, all private-school going, all girls, all Tandy's age. Tandy knows that this can't be a coincidence, and she needs to track down the killer before she is next.

Number 2, her brother is locked up in jail, under suspicion of killing his pregnant girlfriend in a fit of mad rage. Tandy needs to prove her brother's innocence, but it's a hard thing to do when all the evidence is pointing towards him, confirming the fact that he's the killer, but Tandy will try her hardest to avenge her brother.

Number 3, poisonous creatures are being released into some of the apartments in the Dakota. Tandy needs to solve why there are cobras and deadly spiders roaming the halls of where she stays preferably before it kills her or her family, or someone they know. Is it just a fluke...or is someone purposefully trying to get a rich inhabitant of the Dakota killed?

Number 4, James. The boy Tandy once was in love with. The boy who was ripped from Tandy's grasp by her controlling parents and had her taken to a clinic to have all memories of him removed. But Tandy is now recalling the things they did together and the memories they made, she remembers how she fell in love with those electrifying blue eyes. She is going to find him, if it's the last thing she does.

The characters acted differently to how they acted in the first book. In here you could see their struggle to handle all the emotions they were beginning to feel now that they are off the emotion-numbing, mind-awakening drugs their parents fed them so that they  could be examples of brilliance.

I liked Tandy in Confessions of a Murder Suspect, but I preferred her in The Private School Murders. She acted more normal and less robotic now she was off the prescription drugs she had been fed for the last sixteen years. It was interesting watching Tandy experience normal, everyday emotions. From happiness, sadness, humiliation, love and the worst one yet - fear.  I admire Tandy for all the detective work that she does and how clear her thoughts are as she tries to solve the case. I also like it that James Patterson wrote that she felt sadness and slightly sick when she saw the murder victims' bodies, as in the first book she didn't really bat an eyelash when her parents were found dead. You can see a clear distinction between the previous Tandy and the current Tandy. I think she is a brave, stubborn character and I admire her for not completely falling apart despite all she has been through.

I liked that we got to see more of Tandy's siblings and I loved the new characters that we were introduced to in this novel, Claudia Portman, otherwise known as C.P., Tandy's best friend and Jacob, the Angel family's new legal guardian.

The Angel family are...interesting. We have Matty, the eldest Angel, star of the New York Giant's football league, and also a prisoner undergoing a trial for the brutal murder of his girlfriend, Tamara Gee and their unborn child. I didn't really get to see Matt's personality that well and I can never quite grasp what sort of person he is.

Then there is Harry, Tandy's 16 year old twin brother, piano and art prodigy, as well as the sensitive one of the four. Harry is probably one of my favourite characters, as I can relate to him the most and he is the kindest and sweetest.

There is also Hugo, Tandy's 10 year old brother, who has the strength of a grown man. I love Hugo's character, and he always has a positive attitude and is making others smile, however, you could see the strain Matthew's imprisonment was putting on him.

I wish we could see more of the characters, as I still feel that after two books, I don't actually know the other characters besides Tandy all that well.

The new characters we were introduced to definitely added more to the story!

C.P., Tandy's new friend seemed sweet and I liked her bubbly personality. It was nice seeing Tandy interact with kids her age, for once.

My favourite character though is Jacob, a military commando doubling as the family's new guardian who will be looking after them. I love the way he started putting the family's life back together and the way he accepted them as if they were his own children. I absolutely adored Jacob and the positive effect he had on the Angel children. He was really a fantastic addition to the story!

The plot was good. The mysteries had me extremely interested and I didn't guess the killer at all. I thought James Patterson wrote Matt's trial very well and I couldn't quite make up my mind if he was innocent or guilty. I do think though that when they found the killer of the school girls, James Patterson should've given the killer's reason, as there was none. Otherwise, it was a good plot.

The two things I didn't quite like about this book though, was the romance and sometimes Tandy's narrative voice. The romance between Tandy and James just didn't work for me. I think that we should've been properly introduced to James beforehand as Tandy was telling her story about her falling in love but I couldn't quite bring myself to care that much as I had never met James before and I didn't know his character, so it wasn't such a big deal to me when Tandy and James were separated. There was no chemistry between the two and I felt there relationship was quite unrealistic. I don't think this "romance" added anything to the book and it felt quite forced and slightly cheesy.

Tandy's narration at time also seemed a bit off, as she didn't speak like a sixteen year old when addressing us. She was constantly saying things such as "I hope you understand, my friend" the repeated "my friend" phrase kind of irked me when it was continuously used.

The writing in this book was good and better than the writing in the Witch and Wizard book, which I was quite disappointed in. James Patterson is great at writing mystery novels.

The Private School Murders was quite a lot more grisly than the first book. There was one scene in particular that had my gut twisting and my heart-racing and I honestly thought it was going to be the end of one of the character's lives, luckily she was saved in the nick of time. That one scene in particular definitely had me shocked and my mouth dry from fear for the character. I do think though that her being saved was almost too good to be true, but I'm glad that she ended up safe.
The Private School Murders was a thrilling, chilling, guessing-game story, James Patterson had me captured in his grasp with this fast-paced story. 

I found this book highly entertaining and I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. Although I thoroughly enjoyed this book, there were a few flaws that kept me from enjoying the book to the maximum extent possible, but it was still an action-packed, fantastic read with chilling mysteries that left me shocked. I highly recommend this series for any lover of mysteries and fast-paced, action packed reads that will leave you breathless and shocked at the cruelty that people are capable of. 

I give it: 4/5 CUPCAKES!

2 comments:

  1. Hmm. I used to read Patterson's Maximum Ride books, but the quality of their writing really started to go downhill, and I noticed that he seemed to be spitting out books at a tremendous rate, which made me think that he cared more about the quantity of his books than the quality of them, so I stopped reading him altogether. This review has made me want to give him a second chance though, so thanks for opening my mind again :)

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  2. I found the first book better plotted and a lot creepier. There seemed too many important plot lines going on, most of which were resolved at the same time. At one point the book resembled a familiar action film scenario where Our Hero is surrounded by bad guys who take their turns fighting him in an orderly fashion. Tandy is enormously efficient, but even so I reached the point of "gimme a break!



    One aspect that perplexed me appeared at the end. Their new guardian Jacob said he was born when his mother was 18. His mother died 25 years ago at age 75. Jacob was initially described as appearing to be 50-ish, but this would make him 80.

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