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A different author each chapter…does this thriller work?

July 26, 2014

The premise of “Inherit the dead” is promising: 20 best-selling mystery writers collaborate to create a thriller. I’ve read such things on the internet, and half the time, they turn out hilariously well. Well, this book proves that statistic.

Inherit-the-Dead-198x300The main character, Pericles ‘Perry’ Christo is fascinating and engaging, and certainly draws the reader into the book.  The story line was good, too. Perry is chasing Angelina, an heiress who has disappeared from the face of the earth. Her strange, rich and estranged mother hires Perry to track her down, but her stoned father has no clue, and her lower class boyfriend hasn’t a clue either. Along the way Perry attracts a psychotic stalker, and time is running out for Angelina to sign on the dotted line for her trust fund inheritance.

However, let me explain the problem with this book: following the premise of collaborative writing, each author has a chapter. And each author felt the need to spend an inordinate amount of time on character development. Perhaps this stems from each author attempting to stake their claim on the character? Whatever, but it became quite intrusive by the time the tenth author in a row did it. The flow and pace of the book is somewhat ruined by these interruptions.

And try not to make the mistake of looking up as you begin a new chapter to see which author wrote it.If it is an author you have previously sampled and disliked (in my case, Alafair Burke) your prejudice against the author may interfere with your enjoyment of the chapter and unfolding story. On the other hand, I am now going to try authors I had previously dismissed, such as Jonathan Santloffer and Stephen L. Carter.

Lee Child writes the foreword to the novel. The other participating authors include: Stephen L. Carter, Marcia Clark, Heather Graham, Charlaine Harris, Sarah Weinman, Bryan Gruley, Alafair Burke, John Connolly, James Grady, Ken Bruen, Lisa Unger, S.J. Rozan, Dana Stabenow, Val McDermid, Mary Higgins Clark, C.J. Box, Max Allan Collins, Mark Billingham, and Lawrence Block,

Perhaps it was a publishing house marketing gimmick, and it has worked. Overall, this book rates a 5/10 for me. But don’t let me influence you, try this interesting concept for yourself.

– Tamara


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