I was very excited by the premise of Guess Who? by Chris McGeorge. A murder mystery while trapped in a room to be solved in 3 hours or everyone dies?! Fabulous! Unfortunately, the book as a whole did not completely deliver. Usually I would not write reviews that are less than positive, but as I am an avid crime, mystery and thriller reader, I feel that I should share my thoughts on this book. Guess Who by Chris McGeorge will be published on 3 May, 2018 by Orion.
Six people wake up in a hotel room. They are trapped with no way out. They discover a dead body in the bathtub; a man they all have a connection to. Morgan Sheppard, TV personality as a ‘Resident Detective’ is tasked with solving the murder. If he cannot, the whole hotel gets blown up. Throughout, the book is told from the past and present perspective, with Sheppard’s visits to his therapist, anecdotes of his past and the pasts of the other suspects in the room which connect them to the victim. I cannot say much more without spoiling it, but there is murder, suspicion and lots of conversations.
So, this novel was not badly written, nor did it lack good characters or good character development. But that’s where it stopped. McGeorge had an excellent idea for a book, great writing and use of narrative voice and I really enjoyed the character reveals and development. I thought that Ryan was a great, lovely character who didn’t deserve the situation he was thrown into, Rhona had an unexpected misfortune and Cecilia was wonderfully weird.
Aside from this, the structure and various parts of the story actually let the novel down severely. From the start, the flashbacks went on for too long; there were lots of pointless details, and I felt that the 1992 section should have started far earlier on, giving the reader a chance to have an ‘aha!’ moment, which could not happen with how it was structured. Alan’s character felt fairly pointless; he antagonised but did not move the story forward much at all.
I did not get why the room didn’t blow up. They spoke about setting the explosives later, but there was no follow-up on this. Also, the revelation took way too long. Like I said, the 1992 section should have been started way earlier so that the reader has time to understand that there was another person involved back then. This could have even been told in a slightly different way; either by diary or confessional to the therapist section, or notes from the therapist.
Also: MAJOR PLOT HOLE: If they were both seeing the same therapist, how did Winter not realise that Sheppard and Eren had told him the same story and had had the same experience of finding their dead maths teacher?! If I were Winter, I would have at least tried to draw it out of Sheppard that he was lying and why. This just did not make sense.
And finally, why did Sheppard get to have a happy ending? The ending in itself was too long and drawn-out anyway then, right as I thought that it was over and it had a decent final scene, McGeorge wrote in the scene with the French woman.
Other people may like Sheppard from reading this book, but I personally thought he was just as bad as Eren. Therefore, I thought that he deserved to have a tragic end or at least one where he could only reflect on his life and misdoings.
Overall, this book could have been amazing. I really enjoyed the 1992 section and the action-packed bits with red herrings galore, and I liked all of the progressive therapy scenes along with the progressive scenes in the hotel room. I just did not like the way it was structured. This could have easily been a 320 page, enjoyable mystery novel. I would recommend this book to people who like drawn-out murder mysteries with lots of backstory and strange, unrealistic twists and turns. Thank you to Lauren Woosey from Orion Publishing Group for a proof copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.