Book Review – The Sorority Murder by Allison Brennan – Suspnseful Read
My Rating – 4 out of 5
Plot Summary (Storyline) – The Sorority Murder
My first pickup read of 2022, one amongst many that I have lined up for the year, and what a great read it turned out to be! Over the last year, I read many authors for the first time and some were first-time authors as well, Allison Brennan is an author I am reading the first time, and she has me hooked already. Her writing style is very fluid and holds your attention very nicely. Though I do have a minor gripe about the editing – quite a few parts, especially some at the end, could have been shortened – to maintain the tautness of the narrative.
Lucas Vega is a Criminal Justice student at the New Arizona University and for his capstone project, he chooses to do a Podcast on an unsolved murder that took place three-and-a-half years ago. Candace Swain, a Sorority Sister of Sigma Rho in NAU was attending a Spring Party on campus and vanished thereafter. Her body was recovered more than a week later from a nearby lake, with strangulation marks on her neck. Though the police investigated all they could at that time and even had a suspect, the murder had not been solved and had become a cold case by the time Lucas took it up.
At the party, Candace was seen arguing with two of her Sorority sisters, after which she apparently left in a huff. She was also seen speaking to a homeless man, Joseph Abernathy – who had been barred from loitering on the campus – asking him to leave. Though the other sisters wanted to call the police on Joseph, Candace wanted to just make him go away without getting him into further trouble. Once Candace disappeared, Joseph became the police’s primary and only suspect, after Candace’s two boyfriends’ at that time were found to have solid alibis. But Joseph also vanished soon after, last seen hopping onto a railcar.
It is, however, not very clear that why Lucas Vega is so interested in this murder, and the real reasons for his interest become clearer much later in the novel. His department head, Professor Henry Clarkson, puts him in touch with Regan Merritt (an ex-US Marshal) to help Lucas in his investigation for the Podcast. Regan has recently walked away from her successful Marshal career – when her son was murdered and her marriage broke down. In a state of mental fugue, she moved back to Arizona and was staying with her father John Merritt – a retired county Sherriff. Regan is at first mildly interested in Lucas’s project but once she sees the material Lucas has put together, her interest grows.
The main purpose of Lucas’s podcast is to gather more information – where was Candace in the week she was missing before her murder? Had anybody seen her during that time? Why has the Sorority closed ranks against Lucas, don’t they want to know what happened to one of their own? Regan with her extensive experience can help him ask the right questions and make logical sense from the answers. As the calls start coming into the podcast’s line, small details start emerging about that fateful period. The killer is still at large and people who know more than what they are saying are hiding vital details. Lucas and Regan’s joint efforts seem to be ruffling a lot of feathers!
Conclusion – Book Review of The Sorority Murder
It’s a whodunit written quite well, though you can make out quite early on that lot of people in the cast of characters are lying but to protect who? Will Regan be able to penetrate the wall being put up to thwart her questions and the attempts to divert attention bear fruit? Will two civilians be able to solve a cold murder case that the police have almost given up on? Most critically, will the crazed killer get to Lucas or Regan before they can uncover the killer’s identity?
Lots of good questions, and some pretty good answers that come out in the climax. Some expected, a few unexpected. One shudders to think that there may be a few psychologically deranged individuals amongst our close circles, and what they are capable of while looking perfectly normal. A very intriguing read, so if knotty thrillers are your thing you should get your copy of The Sorority Murder now!
*I hope you have enjoyed reading this book review as much as I have enjoyed writing this! Do watch this space for more such reviews and navigate through the links below for more… Thank you!! *