145 of 148 people found the following review helpful
on July 4, 2011
Twenty six authors writing in collaboration to tell the story of an innocent woman wrongly executed for her husband's murder. Huh? Twenty six authors? One book? When I read the synopsis of No Rest for the Dead and then looked at the list of contributing authors I knew that I just had to read this book. Could this work? WOULD this work? Yes it works just fine, thank you! Each author writes one chapter, or story, labeled with their name so you do know who wrote what. But the "who wrote what" dynamic quickly gets back burnered. Some of the writers aren't normally favorites but in No Rest for the Dead, it didn't matter to me. Every chapter and every story was seamless, every word was brilliant. What matters is that No Rest for the Dead is a great read and a great who-done-it.
As requested by the deceased, innocent Rosemary Thomas in her will, ten years after her execution, all who were present on the night of her her husband's murder are to be brought together again in a sort of memorial. A letter is to be read by Rosemary's best friend. I immediately expected a "Nick Charles" type of scene when I read that all of the suspects would be together in one room. Nope...didn't happen. And that's OK. There's another, more interesting way that the facts are exposed and the mystery is solved.
No Rest for the Dead is a well told, well laid out and plotted mystery, I couldn't stop reading it. It's rather like a well designed quilt, all of the separate pieces are finally stitched together to make a solid piece. It's the fine stitching and the weaving of the threads that bind the pieces that make the finished quilt strong and sturdy. That's what you have in No Rest for the Dead. A strong and well crafted story.
Hands down, this is one of the best books I've read this year! The solution took me by surprise and no, I didn't see it coming. And I can usually figure these things out.
Buy it, read it, share it.
4 1/2 out of 5 stars
This e-galley was provided to me by the publisher and in no way affected my review.
81 of 84 people found the following review helpful
on July 8, 2011
Christopher Thomas feels as if he's on top of the world. He's got the looks, the smarts, the prestigious job, the dutiful wife, the ladies on the side, and most importantly, he's got the money. But, in reality, is all of that enough? Apparently not for Christopher, as he appears to also have a secret life. One that not only gives him a certain amount of exhilaration, but also brings with it a great deal of danger. On the eve of an event at his art gallery, after being seen with another woman by his wife, Christopher is never seen again. At least alive that is. Not too long later, his body is found stuffed and decaying in the Iron Maiden in a Berlin museum.
Christopher's wife, Rosemary Thomas was content with her life. She enjoyed her job, had two beautiful children, and had family money to provide well for her and her family. What she didn't have was a husband who adored her, loved her, doted on her, anymore. Yes, she knew about his little dalliances, and as long as it wasn't thrown in her face, she didn't care too much. She didn't really want to put her children through the travesty of a divorce. But when she sees a woman flirting with her husband at an event she loses it and cannot handle the public shame. She confronts him and a fight ensues. When they both leave the event, it's the last time Christopher is seen alive. Due to her being the last one seen with Christopher and some circumspect evidence, she is quickly arrested, tried, and executed for his murder. Rosemary died as she lived, with grace and dignity. Knowing in her heart what the truth was.
Now, ten years have passed since Rosemary's execution, and Jon Nunn, the lead detective on the case, is riddled with guilt and doubt. Could he possibly have sent an innocent person to her death? It's the one case he can never let go of, the one case that has chewed him up inside, the one case that has cost him everything - his wife, his job, and the life that he once knew. And when he gets a letter from Rosemary's old friend, Tony Olsen, inviting everyone to a memorial to honor her death (per the instructions in her will), he realizes that it is the perfect time to have all of the suspects assembled in once place.
As the letters arrive to each of the guests inviting them to the memorial (how tacky to celebrate the execution of a murderess!), each of those invited begins to feel a bit more uncomfortable. And some are even harassed and/or threatened to keep quiet. Will the secrets they've tried so desperately to keep hidden finally be exposed? Peter (Rosemary's brother) and Stan (a lawyer) know that there is no way their secret will be found out. Sarah (formerly married to Jon and now married to Stan) is starting to realize that her first husband just might not be so crazy after all. Belle is an artist and good friend of Rosemary's. Rosemary gave her a chance when no one else would. She has something very important to say at the memorial, and won't be scared away from doing so. Then someone is hurt and there is an attempt to rob the gallery. Are these acts a distraction to shut everyone up for good, a "simple" armed robbery, or is there something even more sinister going on? Something that no one would ever imagine?
The gathering of the suspects at the memorial will lead you to think that the big "Perry Mason" moment is coming. When they're all standing around and the killer will be revealed. Someone will say the wrong thing without realizing it, a hidden clue is found, a glance is given in the wrong direction. Instead, what you get is more twists, more turns, and more questions than you have answers for. And just when you think you've got it all figured out, think again. And then again and again and again.
When I read the preview for this book I was immediately enticed. So many great authors all in one place?! A readers dream come true. Was it possible for twenty-five different authors to write one seamless story? I would quickly find out that the answer was - Heck yeah! Each author writes a different chapter in the book, and each one begins with the name of the author penning that particular chapter. Since some of my favorite authors (Faye Kellerman, Sandra Brown, Tess Gerritsen, to name a few) took part in this fantastic endeavor, I thought I would be able to differentiate their writing, their voice, from the authors that I don't know as well. That just wasn't the case. All of these authors worked so well together that the chapters blended into one another beautifully. I'd love to know how it was done. Did one author write an outline the others worked off of? Did one author write a chapter and then pass if off to the next in line? Who decided which chapter each other would write? Did all of the authors know how it would end (by an outline), or did only the authors of the last few chapters know where the book would go? If the authors name wasn't at the beginning of each chapter, I would never have known that this book was written by so many different people. They all came together to emit one strong, fantastically woven tale.
57 of 58 people found the following review helpful
Described as a `once-in-a-generation collaboration of New York Times bestselling authors', NO REST FOR THE DEAD brings together the talents of 26 of the top mystery/thriller writers working today to create an intriguing mystery.
The job of putting this novel together, and handling all the many egos that go along with it, go to the brother-and-sister editing team of Andrew and Lamia Gulli. More importantly, all of the proceeds of this effort (excluding contributor expenses) will be donated to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
OK --- the novel has a philanthropic purpose and an introduction written by the great David Baldacci --- I'm already hooked. The end result is an interesting mystery that deftly weaves the contributions of these great authors into a surprisingly cogent and surprising mystery. Jonathan Santlofer provides the prologue that is sent 10 years in the past. We are inside Valley State Prison for Women where the convicted murderess, Rosemary Thomas, is about to be put to death. There to witness the final moments of her life is the man primarily responsible for putting her there, Detective Joe Nunn. The only trouble is that Nunn has had serious second thoughts about Rosemary's guilt and believes, deep inside, that he is about to witness an innocent woman put to death because of the evidence he provided at her trial.
Joe Nunn's conscience provides a good deal of the novel as several chapters are devoted to his diary (the first written by Andrew F. Gulli, himself). The murder that Rosemary was convicted of was that of her husband, Christopher Thomas. A ruthless museum curator based in San Francisco, Christopher was capable of double-dealing and perhaps more. At the time of his murder, he was estranged from his wife Rosemary as she was in the process of seeking a divorce from her unscrupulous and adulterous husband. When his body turns up inside an ancient torture device --- an iron maiden --- Rosemary is the number one suspect as many people saw them arguing the night Christopher disappeared.
NO REST FOR THE DEAD mainly takes place after Rosemary's execution as Detective Joe Nunn relentlessly pursues all of the previous leads and unanswered questions he turned up in the initial investigation. This time, he is on a personal mission to find out what actually happened to Christopher Thomas and hopefully vindicate the memory of Rosemary Thomas (and clear his own conscience in the process). What Nunn uncovers is a finely woven web of deceit where no one can be trusted and the circumstances of Christopher Thomas' murder are turned upside down --- with the truth hiding beneath the surface waiting for Nunn to grasp it.
Serial novels like NO REST FOR THE DEAD, featuring over 31 Chapters, are sometimes challenged to sustain the tension since the various writing styles of the different writers involved can sometimes bring things to a crashing halt. Thankfully, that does not occur here. The only criticism I have is that a few of the chapters are ultra-short (one in particular, is only a few paragraphs in length). I find that to be an awful waste of the author's talent. Some of the stand-out chapters for me were written by: Matthew Pearl, Michael Palmer, Peter James, Tess Gerritsen and Jeffery Deaver. Of special interest are the Forensic Police Reports composed by Kathy Reichs, which give a real investigative feel to the murderous proceedings of the novel.
NO REST FOR THE DEAD is far more than a novelty and I hope there are more collaborations like this in the future for fans of mystery/thrillers to relish!
Reviewed by Ray Palen for New Mystery Reader
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on March 20, 2013
Really wanted to like this. The approach is really fun...you'd think this great group of writers would really push each other to dig deep and be creative. But in my opinion it never gelled. Maybe because the premise was so strained. (Rich female executed in California in less than two years from when the crime was committed? Seriously?) Maybe because good editing was missing...there really was no need for different writers to plow the same ground in different chapters...the reader got it the first time. (Nunn became a drunk and screwed up his life after the execution of someone he helped convict) Oh...and about that...how is it credible that it was just one policeman who was responsible for the guilty verdict? Really? Or that an autopsy report on an autopsy done in Germany would have never been translated to english let alone redone by at least one expert for the defense. Seriously....maybe before all the crime dramas, maybe before court tv, maybe before OJ and other high profile murder cases the reader might have bought some of that....but not any more. If you still want to read it....borrow it. Save your money.
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on July 31, 2011
The book does flow pretty well for the number of authors, however, the story was one dimensional. It did not have many twists and turns. In fact, there was not any suspense the whole novel. I am an avid thriller reader and this was not one. This story basically is a book that expanded on the characters not the plot. I kept waiting for it to get good...it never did. Disappointment.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on July 15, 2011
I didn't think twenty six authors could tell one coherent story. I was wrong. The book is clear, concise and on point. I couldn't put it down - racing through the pages wondering how the next author was going to move the story along. Well written, interesting and a winner.
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on August 25, 2012
I was looking forward to reading No Rest for the Dead....what a waste of time and money. It was choppy, disjointed and boring as all get out. There was no surprises and no suspense. I hated the way it switched from first to third person and not knowing who was doing the talking. To many characters that were left incomplete, I'd already forgotten them if and when they were mentioned again. It was hard for me to stay on track and it took me 10 times longer to finish it then it should have. I certainly would never recommend it to anyone else.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
When museum curator Christopher Thomas is murdered, his wife Rosemary is tried, convicted, and executed as the killer even though there could have been many suspects given the cruel and manipulative nature of Thomas. However, ten years later detective Jon Dunn, who was responsible for having Rosemary convicted and has been haunted by doubt that she was guilty, receives information that leads him to believe she was indeed innocent as she contended right up to the last moments of her life. He sets out to prove that the wrong person was executed and works to find the real killer before more people involved in the case die.
This was a great story and was unique in that it was co-written by 26 top mystery writers. I wasn't sure how that would work or whether the storyline would stay intact but it did, even with so many different writing styles. There were also several characters important to the plot and the story had to fluctuate between the past and the present, but both were handled well without confusing the reader. The story itself was everything I like in a good mystery and held my interest right up to the surprise ending.
I received a copy of this book for review from the publisher but the opinion of it is my own and was not solicited, nor was a positive review required.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on September 10, 2011
This book is based on an intriguing idea: get a bunch of best-selling mystery writers to contribute a chapter each to a mystery novel. Unfortunately, the gimmick just doesn't work. The transitions from chapter to chapter are just too choppy and jarring. Some of the chapters are pure padding that does nothing to advance the plot. Minor characters are introduced suddenly, the story is told from their viewpoint, and then they disappear just as suddenly. You never really get to know or like any of the main characters, and Christopher Thomas in particular is such a caricature of pure evil, he is laughable. The story shows promise in its early stages but the resolution of the mystery is weak and unsatisfactory. The whole thing was a disappointment for me.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 23, 2011
First of all, this book is interesting because twenty-six authors collaborated to write this story. You would think with this many authors (with different writing styles) the story would not flow well and would equal disaster. That is not the case with this book.
The prologue really drew me into this book. It was gripping and a very strong start. As the story continued, it took many twists and turns and had me changing my "who-did-it" list over and over. It wasn't until page 199 (out of 256)that I truly had it figured out.
I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good mystery-thriller read that keeps you guessing!
One last thing that I thought was very special about this book is that all the proceeds (after author compensation) is donated to Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.