The Turnbull Murders by R.J. Koreto

The Turnbull Murders by R.J. Koreto
Publisher: Level Best Books
Genre: Mystery/Suspense/Thriller, Contemporary
Rated: 5 stars
Reviewed by Snapdragon

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

Movie star Nicky Tallon selects architect Wren Fontaine to renovate Turnbull House, where he’ll be filming his next movie. Even to Wren, used to old homes, this one is special: a 200-year-old federal-style home on a private island in New York harbor, designed by the most celebrated architect of the day. But Turnbull House hides many secrets, such as the disappearance of the sea captain who built it. That’s just a historical curiosity, until a studio executive no one likes is killed.

Wren just wants to keep her worksite safe, but then another murder occurs, and she starts noting eerie connections between the mysteries surrounding the Turnbull family and Nicky and his entourage. The handsome star seems to have two girlfriends, a childlike folk singer and a cynical fashion model. Meanwhile, renowned actress Veronica Selwyn renews a friendship with Wren’s father, which Wren finds more disturbing than she wants to admit. She concludes it’s time she and her girlfriend Hadley take the next step and find a place together, an exciting but stressful change.

As the attacks continue, Wren realizes she will have to solve the mysteries surrounding Captain Turnbull and Nicky Tallon. Turnbull House speaks of order and harmony, and Wren must dig deep to see how the house has affected its owners, old and new. Fortunately for her, the eminently practical Hadley is by her side, pepper spray at the ready—because a frighteningly clever killer is about to find that Wren is getting too close to the horrific truth.

The intriguing characters we meet at the opening of The Turnbull Murders grabbed this reader’s interest right away. R.J. Koreto described this new work as a ‘Historic Homes Mystery,’ and I for one, never imagined what a super backdrop architecture could be for a murder.

Our lead character, Wren, is as you have might have already guessed, an architect- but a special sort, with an interest not only in the history of certain styles of homes, but in the specific homes she is asked to restore. The home she tackles on Turnbull Island is that perfect icon of murder locations: it’s isolated. And, it has this sort of haunting back-story…none of which prepares either our lead, or the reader, for the first murder.

The investigation, while important, still takes a backseat to Wren’s interaction with her employer and his entourage. The world of the theater is another whole interesting part of the setting.

Wren’s girlfriend is incidentally involved at the start, as her job brings her to the same location. There’s a touch of family involvement, new friendships, and suddenly something that seems like another murder attempt. The threat looms and is cleverly tied to a long past mystery on Turnbull Island.

R.J. Koreto is brilliant at keeping the plot turning, all the while, keeping our attention on all these other, totally engaging, details. It’s hard to keep clues in mind while you are being entertained by gossip! To quote one of the characters: “Wow, just wow.”

This is a wonderful read, not only for mystery fans, but for anyone. It’s fast paced, with well-developed characters and an impossible to predict plot. Recommended!