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Natural Suspect: A Collaborative Novel Hardcover – Large Print, June 10, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
First there was Naked Came the Stranger, a novel written round-robin by Newsday staff, then Naked Came the Manatee, a serial crime caper from Miami-based writers. Now, here's a legal thriller wherein each succeeding chapter has been created by recognized pros in the genre. The roster of authors includes Leslie Glass, Gini Hartzmark, John Katzenbach, John Lescroart, Bonnie MacDougal, Phillip Margolin, Brad Meltzer, Michael Palmer, Lisa Scottoline and Laurence Shames all of whose contributions appear without bylines. Saluting and satirizing the tricks of the trade, Bernhardt starts the story off on a Long Island estate as oil mogul Arthur Hightower threatens to divorce his martini-soaked wife, Julia, and cut off his wastrel children. Before he makes good on the threat, Arthur's frozen corpse is discovered in the basement freezer. Julia hires Devin Gail McGee to defend her in court, not knowing Devin once shared a hot tub with the handsome prosecutor. Bernhardt laces his opener with possibilities, then each author in turn uncovers clues and miscues, from the toe cut off by the movie-quoting thug in clown costume to one lawyer's unseemly devotion to his voyeuristic pet rabbit. The fun for readers of this team tour de force is not to solve the case but to guess which author penned which chapter. Remarkably, the ending ties up more loose ends than anyone has a right to expect. More publishing than literary event, more mind game than artistic accomplishment, the book is an over-the-top diversion, with each author attempting to be more clever than the one before. There are some hits and some misses, but most of the curveballs are fun. (Nov.)Conservancy.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
From Library Journal
A thriller with chapters by different authors, e.g., Philip Margolin, Brad Meltzer, and Lisa Scottoline.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
Top customer reviews
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"Natural Suspect" escorts the reader seamlessly through 11 chapters of the most brilliant minds of the genre. courtroom drama, suspense, phychological proweress and tabu, all the ingredients that make up that perfect cocktail that keeps the reader, and the cast, intoxicated to the last drop, and wanting for more.
William Bernhardt conceptualized the creation of a mystery written by multiple authors as he invited 10 of his author colleagues to join the fun! It is also very special to note that the project collaboration was simultaneously devised as a fundraiser and supports a very deserving cause as all author royalties are donated to The Nature Conservancy.
I was so excited to learn that 5 of my favorite authors contributed to this adventurous writing including William Bernhardt, John Lescroart, Phillip Margolin, Brad Meltzer, and Lisa Scottoline. It was also a wonderful introduction to the 6 authors that I now must investigate their independent writing as I so enjoyed their gifts of collaboration and generosity to this project including Leslie Glass, Gini Hartzmark, John Katzenbach, Bonnie MacDougal, Michael Palmer, and Laurence Shames.
I could keep the thesaurus open all night in an effort to try to capture just a snippet of the delight in reading this novel. It's a perfect blend of page-turning, riveting, exciting, unique, suspenseful scenes of courtroom drama, murder and mayhem, and investigative reporting, with humorous lines all mixed into one extraordinary and outstanding novel.
Even if you never read the author's Afterword - Don't miss this one! It shares more details of how the novel came from creation to fruition. My only disappointment is that the web site that was initially created for this title to share which author wrote each chapter no longer seems to be available.
If you've never picked up this style of novel before, think back to your school days when you probably participated in an exercise like this with everyone in the class writing a paragraph then passing the paper to the person sitting next to them who wrote the next paragraph, passed it to the next person and so on until everyone in the class had contributed to each of the 30 or so stories. You no doubt had a lot of fun with it trying to twist different classmates work so far into your own ideas, such as introducing elements to characters to change the previous image of them, killing some off and putting something weird in their for the conservative kid next to you to deal with. It's evident these real world successful authors had a lot of fun participating in this and the afterword tells us that they all didn't want the plot skeleton outlined beforehand but wanted to pick up and challenge each other, by reading the novel so far up to the point it was complete then adding their own twists and turns.
The team of authors that contributed to this are William Bernhardt, Leslie Glass, Gini hartzmark, John Katzenbach, John Lescroat, Bonnie MacDougal, Philip Margolin, Brad Meltzer, Michael Palmer, Lisa Scottoline and Laurence Shames.
The plot starts off by Bernhardt, with Arthur Hightower, a rich self made tycoon disappointed in the growing slackness of his family and increasingly alcoholic wife, as well as their clear lack of understanding of the value of money. He tells them before storming out on a business trip that he is rewriting his will to exclude them all and they are all going to have to get jobs when he returns. He is later found in a massive freezer in his mansion's basement holding his wife's pearls, which she had refused to give back to him the night of his departure when he demanded them. This is a great mystery who done it, helped massively by the fact that only the authors who wrote the end chapters had any idea who murdered Arthur Hightower simply because it was up to them to decide.
The only bad thing about this novel is you don't find out which author wrote which chapter if you were so impressed that you want to read their own books. For the example whoever turned the book in chapter three from a legal to an on the edge of your seat thriller, with the introduction of a captive (who was a character from the previous chapter) suddenly tied to a chair being tormented by a clown not only clearly ensured the spirit of the book but wrote a really great chapter. When the book was published there was a website you could go to and enter a competition to guess which author was which but that link just redirects you to an online bookshop now.
If anyone did ever find out which author wrote which chapter feel free to comment on this review.
Most recent customer reviews
William Bernhardt leads of this novel with the first chapter, in a collaborative work of fiction sure to entertain.Read more