Saturday, February 21, 2015

Book Review: "The Forgers" by Bradford Morrow

"The Forgers" by Bradford Morrow
First published in 2014
258 pages
My rating: 2 out of 5

Image from Goodreads

I expected a heck of a lot more from a book that starts off with the discovery of a brutally murdered forger whose hands have been chopped off at the wrists. Instead of a fast-paced, thrilling mystery, what I got was a total snoozefest.

Our narrator, Will, is dating the sister of the murdered man. And the death stirs up the ghosts of Will's past -- he was once an extremely successful forger, "improving" rare books by adding inscriptions from authors like his favorite, Arthur Conan Doyle, or even creating entire missives and documents and passing them off as real.

Until, that is, a mysterious stalker of sorts turned him in and he was forced to swear off the profession. Except that, more than a way to make money, forging is an addiction for Will and it is a constant battle to keep from succumbing to his passion. Will, who's now gainfully employed as a handwriting expert, thinks he's managed to leave that world behind, but after the murder he starts receiving threatening notes -- in the forged handwriting of famous authors, and from the same man who turned the authorities on to his forging -- accusing him of killing his girlfriend's brother.

Between the captivating cover, the interesting, book-centric synopsis and the murder-mystery, I was totally expecting to love this book. But it's really not a whodunit at all -- more of a life story being related to us by the narrator, who, by the way, I never really warmed up to. Eventually we do find out who committed the murder and why, but it's wholly unsatisfying. I guessed the killer's identity very early on and I kept hoping for a twist to mix things up -- which, sadly, never came -- and the motive was as bland and boring as a motive could ever be. And there was never any tension, never any build-up to a climax. If it hadn't been such a short book with admittedly decent writing, I never would have finished it.

I suspect this book is meant more as a literary commentary on obsession, love and secrets than a mystery, but it was just so completely dull. You may be tempted to delve into the world of the rare books trade like I was, but I'd suggest skipping this one.

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