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by Donna Huber For the A to Z Challenge, I discussed different book genres/categories. Each day, I gave a few details about the genre/catego...

October 15, 2023

West Heart Kill by Dann McDorman ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

An isolated hunt club. A raging storm. Three corpses, discovered within four days. A cast of monied, scheming, unfaithful characters.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

book cover of murder mystery West Heart Kill by Dann McDorman
October 2023; Knopf; 978-0593537572
audio, ebook, print (288 pages); mystery

You are either going to love it or hate it. That is pretty much how the early reviews are playing out.

The reader is warned in the blurb that West Heart Kill is "anything but ordinary whodunit". Dann McDorman takes a risk with an unorthodox approach to storytelling. I'm not opposed to an author experimenting with methods of telling a story, but I don't always love it. Unfortunately, this novel falls into that category for me.

I loved the characters and it would have been an entertaining detective novel had the story stayed with the plot. 

I was confused for most of the novel trying to figure out if this was supposed to be a commentary on how to read a mystery and the history of the genre instead of just an entertaining murder mystery. At one point, I thought the author was condescending as the narrator (presumably the author) breaks into the narrative to point out that the reader at this point is asking certain questions. I was not as I was just along for the ride and wanted to enjoy myself. A few years ago, I read an article about active reading and I feel that is what the author assumed the reader was doing.

I enjoyed some of the commentary, particularly the parts that discussed certain elements of a mystery or the history of the genre. I was a little disappointed when the mystery that my book club is reading this month, which I haven't read yet, was mentioned and I think gave away the ending. So if you are reading older mysteries for the first time, beware there are some spoilers in this novel.

I almost didn't finish this book. At about 80%, I was kind of over it and didn't really care if the mystery was solved or not. I was mildly curious how the author would end it. Again, because of the style choice, I found the ending unsatisfying. 

This could have been a very entertaining murder mystery or a very informative nonfiction commentary. But the mashup of the two resulted in a mediocre book for me. But as I said at the beginning, you will either love it or hate it, so you might want to check out a few of the other reviews to decide if this book is for you.

Buy West Heart Kill at Amazon

Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour.

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