Review: The Appeal by Janice Hallett


Dear Reader – enclosed are all the documents you need to solve a case. It starts with the arrival of two mysterious newcomers to the small town of Lockwood, and ends with a tragic death.

Someone has already been convicted of this brutal murder and is currently in prison, but we suspect they are innocent. What’s more, we believe far darker secrets have yet to be revealed.

Throughout the Fairway Players’ staging of All My Sons and the charity appeal for little Poppy Reswick’s life-saving medical treatment, the murderer hid in plain sight. Yet we believe they gave themselves away. In writing. The evidence is all here, between the lines, waiting to be discovered.

Will you accept the challenge? Can you uncover the truth?

My thoughts:

The Appeal is one of those all-consuming, can’t-put-down kind of reads that doesn’t fail to impress. I read it in one sitting and wished it hadn’t ended once I had finished it.

It’s among the most unique crime fiction I have read in the longest time as it’s written almost entirely in emails, as well as a few other multimedia formats such as audio and text conversations.

It follows a court case appeal focussing on a wrongly convicted individual of murder. I liked that the reader doesn’t know anything about what happened in the first trial, including who was sent to jail. We get to solve the case at the same time as those working on it, starting with a string of emails which mainly focus on an upcoming town play and a fundraiser for a sick child.

There are 15 suspects in this book and that does seem like a lot of characters to get to know but I didn’t find it confusing in the slightest. It actually made the guessing game of “who did what?” a lot more fun, without giving too many clues away. It also made the story a lot more addictive while still being an easy read.

What stood out to me was how well the author managed to write the 15 characters without them sounding like the same person. At the start of each email it said which character was emailing whom. As the book progressed, I found it easier to identify the character behind each message because they all had a distinct voice.

A lot of the time I found myself grinning at their different personalities, such as one woman who thought if she clicked a link for a fundraiser to donate money she would get a virus and insisted on donating in person. There are a lot of lighthearted and humorous moments that seep through the pages and make the whole book highly enjoyable and the characters seem more authentic.

If you’re a fan of crime novels and are looking for something a bit different that will keep you hooked until the end, then this is the perfect read for you. In some ways it reminded me of Holly Jackson’s A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder, mainly based on the format of the book, rather than the plot. Janice Hallett has another book coming out in January 2022 and after reading The Appeal it has jumped straight onto my must-read instantly list.

Rating: 5/5 stars

Have you read this book yet or do you plan on adding it to your TBR? Let me know by commenting below.

I’m also on Twitter and Instagram – @bookwormgirl_24

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