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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

#CJSReads2017 Review: The Book of Mirrors by E.O. Chirovici

The Book of Mirrors by E.O. Chirovici
Atria/Emily Bestler Books
Releases today 2/21/17!

A fantastic read for those who like the slower paced, old school PI novel type book.  Written in 3 sections, it slowly builds a scene to tie into the potential solving of a murder.  We had mixed feelings on this particular book. While it may not be for everyone, for those who it does resound with, it's worth the read.  See our different opinions below!

Synopsis from Goodreads:

When literary agent Peter Katz receives a partial book submission entitled The Book of Mirrors, he is intrigued by its promise and original voice. The author, Richard Flynn, has written a memoir about his time as an English student at Princeton in the late 1980s, documenting his relationship with the protégée of the famous Professor Joseph Wieder. One night just before Christmas 1987, Wieder was brutally murdered in his home. The case was never solved. Now, twenty-five years later, Katz suspects that Richard Flynn is either using his book to confess to the murder, or to finally reveal who committed the violent crime.

But the manuscript ends abruptly—and its author is dying in the hospital with the missing pages nowhere to be found. Hell-bent on getting to the bottom of the story, Katz hires investigative journalist John Keller to research the murder and reconstruct the events for a true crime version of the memoir. Keller tracks down several of the mysterious key players, including retired police detective Roy Freeman, one of the original investigators assigned to the murder case, but he has just been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s. Inspired by John Keller’s investigation, he decides to try and solve the case once and for all, before he starts losing control of his mind. A trip to the Potosi Correctional Centre in Missouri, several interviews, and some ingenious police work finally lead him to a truth that has been buried for over two decades...or has it?

Jessica's Thoughts:
4 / 5 Stars

I really enjoyed this book. It wasn't a psychological thriller, but more of a literary thriller/mystery. There are definitely crime and thriller elements, but it's not one of those fast-paced, quick read thrillers (if that makes sense). This is more of a story within a story about an old cold case. This book is about different stories - the ones we tell, the ones we keep hidden, and then the ones we'll do anything to make sure they stay buried. 

We follow a literary agent, Peter Katz. The beginning of the book is him reading a partial book transcript, The Book of Mirrors, that he has received as a submission. It is about author Richard Flynn and his time as an English student at Princeton circa the late 1980s, and his relationship with famous Professor Joseph Wieder. Jut before Christmas in 1987, Wieder is brutally murdered, and the case went cold for 25 years. Peter Katz suspects that Flynn is using his book for one of two things: to confess to the murder, or to reveal who really committed the violent murder. 

We follow the story through the eyes of Peter Katz, John Keller (the journalist hired to investigate the memoir and crime), and then Detective Roy Freeman (the original detective assigned tot he case). It definitely is different from other crime stories in that it doesn't 100% focus on the investigation and what the police are doing to solve the crime. There are many layers to this story and it's definitely a slow burn type thriller/mystery. It's a very different and unique story.

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Sam's Thoughts:
2 / 5 Stars

The Book of Mirrors by E.O Chirovici was truly a book that I would describe as a slow burn. Not truly a thriller per say, but more a slow moving mystery.  This one read like a noir detective novel.  Even though it is set in the 1980s, it felt more like it would fit in the 1950s. 

What I Liked:
Format: I did love the book within a book format.   I think novels that do this successfully are incredibly smart and well written.  Chirovici was able to do this effortlessly.    I also loved the way the novel was broken into sections with three separate narrations leading
into the conclusion of the murder. 

What I Struggled With:
The Pace:  when I say this one was a slow burn, I mean SLOOOWWWW.    I didn’t find that I was becoming overly attached or hooked to the story at any point during the writing. 

This one truly seems like it is a love it or hate it type of read; it, personally, was not a novel I would choose to read again or highly recommend.  I gave this one a 2/5 stars.  

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My Thoughts:
3 / 5 Stars

This book is in 3 parts. The first part is the manuscript that Peter Katz receives from Richard Flynn, that documents his time under the infamous Joseph Wieder. Wieder was murdered in his own home and the case was never solved. The manuscript stops short and Peter wonders if Richard's memoir is presented as a confession or not. The second part introduces John Keller, the journalist Katz hires to research the murder and who tracks down people closest to the professor in order to piece the story together. He manages to track down a police detective assigned to the original case, Roy Freeman, who has early onset Alzheimer's. A reminder of this case propels him to go back into the case and try to solve it before his mind fights back. 

Sometimes you go into a book thinking it's going to be a certain way and it turns out to be another. This wasn't the typical thriller that I am used to reading. It's a bit of a slow burn, crime case. What was great about this book was it's old school, solve a mystery feel. It's nice to see the different perspectives in the various steps it took to try and solve this mystery. However, I was expecting something completely different so was a little taken aback. It was a bit too slow of a burn for me and I found my mind wandering a lot throughout the story. If you like that old school, investigative, multiple POV type crime story, this is definitely a good one to pick up. If you're looking for something more fast paced, then I would say this story isn't for you. 

The lesson here for me is that you really need to know what you're walking into.  Had I expected a different type of book, I may have enjoyed this a bit more.  While sometimes walking into one differently is a surprise, unfortunately it just didn't quite hit the love button for me this go around.

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