Saturday, January 15, 2022

Review: The Sorority Murder by Allison Brennan

by Allison Brennan
Release Date: December 28, 2021
2021 Mira Books
Kindle Edition; 448 Pages
ISBN: 978-0778311683
Audiobook: B094PJMBQ3
Genre: Fiction / Mystery
Source: Review copy from publisher
3.75 / 5 Stars
A popular sorority girl. An unsolved murder. A campus podcast with chilling repercussions.

Lucas Vega is obsessed with the death of Candace Swain, who left a sorority party one night and never came back. Her body was found after two weeks, but the case has grown cold. Three years later while interning at the medical examiner's, Lucas discovers new information, but the police are not interested.

Lucas knows he has several credible pieces of the puzzle. He just isn't sure how they fit together. So he creates a podcast to revisit Candace's last hours. Then he encourages listeners to crowdsource what they remember and invites guest lecturer Regan Merritt, a former US marshal, to come on and share her expertise.
My Thoughts
The Sorority Murder had an interesting concept in that it was focused on a student podcast that was used to shake up facts in a three-year-old cold case of a popular sorority girl.  It was the podcast idea that drew me to the story as I thought the concept was interesting, and crime podcasts are certainly popular, so I was intrigued by the way the author would use it in the story.  While the story was somewhat repetitive, there was definitely a lot to like as well.
I really liked Regan, a former US marshal, as she always seemed so cool and collected while working, but during her down time, when she was with her friends and family, you got to know her story and understand her motives a bit better.  After suffering a personal loss, she has returned home to figure things out and is currently living with her dad, but I love how her dad doesn't crowd her and gives her space. She is an adult and it is refreshing to see a relationship that is respectful and loving.  She looks to him for advice, but still makes her own decisions.
I wasn't a huge fan of Lucas however. It has nothing to do with the fact that he was hiding something, or that we don't understand his motives for doing the podcast (this is a mystery novel, after all), but I just felt like his character needed more development so that we could empathize with him and understand his behaviour and his reactions.  I think it would have made him seem more sympathetic to others and how they were feeling. 
The plot itself was interesting, and I was curious about the missing girl, Candace, and what could have happened to her.  It did take quite a while for things to get going though, but once it did, there were quite a few twists and turns. I didn't quite buy into the red herrings however, and one of the characters changed so much that I didn't find it believable. However, I really liked the podcast idea, and thought that was interesting. Having people call in to give information is a nice little twist as well. I could be biased there though as I listen to podcasts myself.   

The Sorority Murder is a decent book, and I thought the plot was interesting. However, the plot is a slow burn and it takes a while for things to really get going; however, once they do, they pick up rather nicely even if the ending does require some suspension of belief. I did feel that Lucas needed more development as a character although I did enjoy a lot of the other characters in this book.  Overall, a solid read.