Friday, 21 June 2019

Book Review: The Sentence is Death by Anthony Horowitz


Book: The Sentence is Death

Author: Anthony Horowitz

Pages: 384

Read: Kindle Edition

Read in: 4 hours

Plot Summary: ‘You shouldn’t be here. It’s too late… 
These, heard over the phone, were the last recorded words of successful celebrity-divorce lawyer Richard Pryce, found bludgeoned to death in his bachelor pad with a bottle of wine – a 1982 Chateau Lafite worth £3,000, to be precise.
Odd, considering he didn’t drink. Why this bottle? And why those words? And why was a three-digit number painted on the wall by the killer? And, most importantly, which of the man’s many, many enemies did the deed?
Baffled, the police are forced to bring in Private Investigator Daniel Hawthorne and his sidekick, the author Anthony, who’s really getting rather good at this murder investigation business.
But as Hawthorne takes on the case with characteristic relish, it becomes clear that he, too, has secrets to hide. As our reluctant narrator becomes ever more embroiled in the case, he realises that these secrets must be exposed – even at the risk of death. 

General Thoughts: The Sentence is Death is the second book in the Daniel Hawthorne series by the author. The first book in this series is The Word is Murder and you can read our review of that book here.

Things I Liked: 
1. The premise is interesting. A teetotaller lawyer is bludgeoned to death by an expensive bottle of wine. His last words were mysterious and yet they hinted that he knew his killer. So, who could've had a motive to want him dead?! There were little clues left by the murderer that further added to the upping the interest level in this case. 
2. There were some decent-ish red herrings in the book, which opened up a few possibilities of who could've killed Richard Pryce, which keeps you guessing somewhat as a reader. At any rate, it exposes some of the people close to Richard and their secrets. 
3. I enjoy the meta-ness of these books. Anthony Horowitz has created his own alter-ego- Anthony- as the Watson to Daneil Hawthorne's Sherlock and the mentions of his real-life projects and struggles are quite amusing. 

Things I Did Not Like:
1. This book was a let down for me mainly because it was very. very obvious who killed Pryce and why. For such an obvious motive and killer, it was a waste of 384 pages of going around in circles with red herrings that were not that strong or motivated enough to be the killers. I really wish the killer was someone else! 
2. Anthony is a crime fiction writer and so, he, obviously, fancies himself as a bit of a detective. In the previous book also, we saw that his theories about who the murderer could be were completely wrong! And he is a bit of a laughing stock like Watson or Captain Hastings. The occasional comedy at the expense of a sidekick I can deal with! However, it was much, much worse in this book. Anthony was bullied, framed for stealing a book and even roughed up by two cops! I mean, come on! He is a reputed author, he is assisting a Detective that the Met has called in and some cops go rough him up and threaten him?! Is that even plausible?! 
3. Hawthorne is quite unlikable. I didn't care about him being unlikable in the first book because the story was so rich and so many sub-plots and red herrings were getting thrown up that his or Anthony's persona didn't matter. Here, since the story is scanty, and the killer is obvious, you do end up focusing on our two heroes and neither is likeable or that interesting. Hawthorne is downright obnoxious and rude to Anthony and others in his life and I am so over rude-for-the-sake-of-being-rude characters! 
Rating: 3/5
Sigh. There is going to be a third book in this series and I hope it is much, much better than this! Please build a better mystery, Mr. Horowitz!!! 

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