Review: The Question of The Felonious Friend by E.J. Copperman and Jeff Cohen

After binge reading a lot of young adult books recently, I decided to change it up a bit. This led to me reading both this book and starting The Lilac Girls. Since I got that one for a book club, I don’t want to post my full review before our discussion. The Question of The Felonious Friend was a highly entertaining and fascinating read. I would recommend it if you like Agatha Christie mysteries! This book will be released on September 8, 2016.

 

FeloniousFriend
Source: Goodreads

Overall Score: 8/10

Page Length: 288

Genre: Mystery

Publisher: Midnight Ink

Source: Received a free ebooks from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Book summary

It’s been one year, two weeks, and three days since Samuel Hoenig opened the doors of Questions Answered. The personality traits of his Asperger’s Syndrome help Samuel maintain objectivity in his work—a critical component for his business’s continuing success.

But when Tyler Clayton, a young man who also has Asperger’s, asks if a store clerk is truly his friend, Samuel, for the first time, can’t bear to give an objective answer. It’s a dicey situation that only gets worse when one of the key players ends up dead. Resolving to do the right thing, Samuel, with help from his associate Ms. Washburn, wades into the murky waters of friendship, and the answer he finds may be a revelation to himself most of all.

Review

This book was charmingly quirky and a refreshing change of pace. Most of the mysteries I’ve read recently rely more on the surprise and violence to progress their plot so reading one about good old fashioned detective work was wonderful. While this is the third book in the series, you do not have to read the previous two in order to read this one. Fair warning – you probably will want to go read them after you finish this one to get more of the characters.

Samuel Hoening owns Questions Answered, a store where anybody can go to get their question answered. His coworker Mrs. Washburn serves as the neurotypical Watson to his Sherlock Holmes with Asperger’s Syndrome. The dynamic between the two of them really worked for me. While the story is told from Samuel’s point of view, his careful analysis of Mrs. Washburn’s actions and probable thoughts allow the reader to view the story through both investigator’s eyes.

The story opens with Tyler Clayton, a young man who also has Asperger’s, coming in and asking them to investigator whether his friend is really his friend. This leads to an interesting line of investigation as Samuel and Mrs. Washburn attempt to determine how you can tell if somebody is truly your friend. After giving Tyler the answer, the other key individual in the question ends up dead and Tyler is found nearby holding the gun.

This is where the novel truly takes off. Samuel provides a constant narration, exposing the reader to what life is like for those on the autistic spectrum. There are multiple characters introduced who all have some form of autism and each stands as a distinct individual, each with their own mannerisms and quirks. I liked that the book explored their differences and made an effort to explain why they did the things they did. For a narrator, Samuel does a lot of explaining and this is one of the those rare instances where this works.

The plot moved along a good pace with a fun subplot thrown in there. (When I reached the last line of the book, I was incredibly happy about the ending). If you’re looking for a fast-paced detective story with a lot of suspense and drama, this book is not for you. The plot follows the investigation day by day, exposing the reader to the exact same information Samuel has. Given that, I still did not expect how the mystery would be resolved. It was fun going back afterward and picking up the clues.

I would recommend this book to the readers who like a good detective mystery done more in the way of Agatha Christie. It was an incredibly fun, refreshing read that offered a good insight into what it means to have Asperger’s.

 

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