Book Review: Dangerous Admissions
Another publisher recently contacted me to ask whether I was interested in receiving a review copy of yet another new book. Never one to pass up a free book, I said yes. I don’t know exactly how they keep finding me, but I love this added benefit of blogging.
Dangerous Admissions: Secrets of a Closet Sleuth is billed as a “romantic suspense” novel. The author, Jane O’Connor, writes the bestselling children’s Fancy Nancy series. Since my little girl is all grown up and on to more adult reading now, I was not familiar with the Fancy Nancy books. Coincidentally, however, about a week after I received Dangerous Admissions I noticed one listed in the book order form that Matthew brought home from school. After reading O’Connor’s adult fiction, I am curious about her children’s books and would like to take a look at one of those, as well.
Dangerous Admissions takes place at a Manhattan prep school and opens with the shocking murder of the school’s college admissions counselor. The main character, 43 year old Rannie Bookman, has recently been fired from her job as a copyeditor at Simon and Schuster and is working part-time at the prep school when the murder takes place. She is immensely likeable, mostly because she seems much like your next door neighbor. It isn’t long until the endearingly neurotic mother of two with a fine-tuned attention to detail begins to look for possible clues to the murder. She has good reason to want to solve the mystery when her son, a senior at the prep school, becomes a prime suspect. There are plenty of suspects to choose from among O’Connor’s cast of characters who are multi-dimensional and believable (the teenagers certainly seemed authentic to me!) and help to carry the action along.
The prep school setting gives the reader a glimpse into that exclusive world, much as The Nanny Diaries did for Manhattan high society. It makes a perfect setting for a murder mystery when you factor in the storied competition for Ivy League undergrad spots that we have all heard about. As details about the victim’s puzzling relationships begin to emerge, the cast of potential suspects grows longer and Rannie’s search for the killer becomes increasingly complex.
O’Connor’s adult fiction debut is smart and funny and suspenseful. She is a talented writer and she does a masterful job of weaving together the various plot twists, turns, and a few red herrings as the story unfolds. While it won’t soon be added to any lists of great literature, Dangerous Admissions is a well-written, engaging mystery that keeps the reader turning the pages right up until the end. I recommend it to anyone looking for an entertaining and enjoyable mystery novel.