Book Review: Confessions: The Private School Murders by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

Confessions The Private School MurdersConfessions: The Private School Murders
James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
Little, Brown and Company, October 2013
ISBN 97800-316-20765-2

I simply love a good mystery. Whenever I pick up a book that falls into the Mystery category, I envision my own, personal game of Clue. I can’t wait to figure out who, what, when, where, why and how. I enjoy mysteries so much, in fact, that I am going to try to solve one as I write this review. Why, when Mr. Patterson won’t play with me, do I keep reading his books?

Although it puzzles me, I am a James Patterson fan. A few years ago, I found myself waiting somewhere without a book. In desperation, I plucked a tattered copy of Roses are Red from the rack at the Whatever-Mart. Then, I was hooked. I went back to the first Alex Cross book and ploughed through until I was caught up at which point I dived into the Women’s Murder Club books as I excitedly awaited the release of the next Alex Cross adventure.

Because I adore Mr. Patterson’s books for adults so much; I fully expected to be blown away by his writing for Young Adults, who, quite frankly, can be a much more demanding, fickle and harder to please audience than we Older Adults tend to be.
This is a follow-up to Mr. Patterson’s first YA book, Confessions of A Murder Suspect. Although I hadn’t read the first book, the sequel was very easy to slip into. The Angel family is a captivating cast of characters within themselves. Tandy Angel, the teen-age sister is our main character and narrator. Her older brother is accused of killing his pregnant girlfriend. Both her twin brother and her younger brother look to Tandy to clear his name. In the meantime, she is a bit distracted by the fact that girls her age, attending elite private schools, just like she does; are turning up dead. Oh, and some pretty funky, mysterious and quite creepy things are going down in the Dakota, where the siblings currently reside.

The story-line is fascinating and the writing is sharp and witty. Mr. Patterson sticks with his old tricks in that he taunts me with the mystery. For example, at one point Tandy “opens the door and finds the proof that she needs.” WHAT did she find? How can I possibly solve this mystery when he won’t divulge this information? How dare he have the character hold those cards so close to her chest? His books are like Atari’s Pac Man (come on, some of you remember this). I would get annoyed and frustrated, but I always kept playing.

No, I haven’t solved my conundrum of why I keep reading Mr. Patterson’s mysteries when I know that I will never, ever be given the information to solve the crime before the hero does. I only know that his ideas are amazing and his story-telling is masterful. I guess I could say that Mr. Patterson’s books are the Candy Crush of the written word, and I am hooked.

Reviewed by jv poore, January 2014.