J. L. Carrell - The Shakespeare Secret

Genre: Crime/Conspiracy Thriller
Synopsis: A modern serial killer - hunting an ancient secret. A woman is left to die as the rebuilt Globe theatre burns. Another woman is drowned like Ophelia, skirts swirling in the water. A professor has his throat slashed open on the steps of Washington's Capitol building. A deadly serial killer is on the loose, modelling his murders on Shakespeare's plays. But why is he killing? And how can he be stopped? A gripping, shocking page turner, The Shakespeare Secret masterfully combines modern murder and startling true revelations from the life of Shakespeare.


Review: The Shakespeare secret has been subject to very mixed reviews, some people rating it 5 stars, other 1 star, but very few not comparing it to Dan Brown. Unfortunately, Dan Brown is a genre in his own right it seems, one which no other book constitues a part of, but merely imitates. However, any fans of Conspiracy Thrillers (that is, action movies in the form of books) won't be disappointed. The biggest problem I've encountered with this book (and others like it) is people expect deep character development or well thought out histories and believeable events. Did anybody look for those things in Die Hard, or Lethal Weapon? No. They were action packed, occasionally funny edge-of-your-seat thrillers. And that's exactly what this book does.

The best part about this book is it's subject matter. It's not about religion or an earth-shattering secret, in fact, the secret at the heart of it is one known vaugely to all Shakespeare fans - Who was the real Shakespeare? This book would be complex even with the most in-depth knowledge of all the legends and historical figures touched upon - but it also at no point loses the reader. It is laid out well enough that it carries both the plot and the reader's informed attention along at a steady pace, while not letting up on the action. It keeps the murders up at a steady pace and invites a sense of real threat to the main characters throughout. Perhaps the only major fault is the distinct lack of placement in Shakespeare's time - only two or three instances are found in the novel.

The characters are not entirely disagreeable, although I think even with character development I wouldn't have been a huge fan. Realistically, this book is about the story, not the characters. Each main character is solid and plays their, slightly one-dimensional, roles faultlessly. Indeed, some of them are quite endearing. And, while I'm admittedly not the sharpest tool in Sherlock's dectective case, I was really surprised by the twists throughout the end of the book. It's layered. Theres one obvious suspect, and one slightly less obvious suspect - you'll probably identify them both, and think 'this is too easy.' Well, it is too easy. You'll never guess whodunnit.

Rating: 3/5

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