Who killed September Falls? by Annette Young
I’ll be upfront; I didn’t enjoy this, but that’s more because of me than the book. If you’re into modern-day murder mysteries with good characterisation and a light tone, give it a try!
So. I didn’t get off to a good start with the first few chapters; I found them long-winded and winding, and I struggled to differentiate the actions from the introspection. September’s character was brought out nicely, but I didn’t really get much sense of Arianne in the first chapter or two – she seemed to just drift, doing things because that was the next step in the plot rather than because she actually had a driving motive. I also didn’t really get a sense of the bond between the Arianne and September, which did affect the motive.
On which note, I have an unfortunate tendency to be cynical, and I think this ruins a lot of plots for me. The diary was sent the day before she died – cue dramatic music! The old friend’s been in love with our heroine the entire time? Oh, the shock. (Neither of those are spoilers, btw. You find out within the first chapter or two). But considering my reaction to those, I didn’t view any of the subsequent developments with any degree of leniency. I actually skipped a few chapters in the middle to find out if I was right about the killer, and oh look, I was. Let’s just say that it ain’t an unusual motive.
I think the strength of this book lies in its characterisations of both September, coming through everyone else, and the people around her. The plot uses the same standard elements, put into a story that doesn’t break any of the norms for a murder mystery. The writing is fine, nothing to complain about – but then I’m not in ecstatic rhapsody about it either. It was apparently written in a month to show that it could be done (hello NaNoWriMo!), but I’m pleased to say it doesn’t show – it’s not rushed or full of errors, and it’s obviously a carefully considered story.
Essentially, if you like modern murder mysteries that are character-driven, subtle and standard, it’s worth trying this. I get too hung up on the clichés to enjoy most murder mysteries, and with Who Killed September Falls I simply didn’t buy into the premise, the plot or the writing style. I like books that aren’t predictable, and unfortunately for me, this one is.
Ps. This is one of my Discoverability Challenge books.