Master of Murder by Christopher Pike

(No Series)
Young Adult, Horror

Marvin was an eighteen-year-old senior in high school. He was also America's bestselling author of teenage fiction. But Marvin wrote under a pen name, and no one knew he was famous. Then one night he opens a fan letter that says, "I know who you are". At first Marvin is not concerned, but then another letter arrives, saying more....

No matter my age, I shall forever regard Pike as an expert at writing books that are as relatable to adults as they are to older teenagers. As young adults near that milestone themselves, novels such as this that treated them fairly on an intellectual level were appreciated.

Master of Murder focuses on a young mystery author who ends up – at first without interest – in the middle of a mystery of his own. He is a famous writer, but uses a pseudonym so no one in town knows who he is. It never ceases to amaze me how Pike can take what seems to be the simplest kind of story and weave so many layers and surprises into them.

Marvin is, besides the writing thing, a typical enough teenage male. His home life reeks of serious issues but he has the support and responsibility of a younger sister to fall back on. He’s not really noticed at school, a wallflower that watches and waits as most pass him by without the blink of an eye, usually in the middle of conversations about HIS books. Enter “the girl,” who of course would make the teen’s heart a-flutter. He starts receiving fan letters that hint at knowing who he is, a chilling disturbance he at first tries to shake off as coincidence. I refuse to ruin the story with spoilers, so let’s just say it slowly simmers to a full boil of a suspenseful surprise.

There’s no gore and very little evidence. The ending wasn't a complete surprise but I didn't see everything that ended up unraveling as obvious. The mystery is not quite guessable since the players themselves know little. The strength is in the second half but the first half holds intrigue of its own, even if it takes a little time getting off its feet.

I'm disappointed with the very end and think he shouldn't be so forgiving, but I guess the male heart is sometimes ruled by the wrong head.

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