The Crimson Rooms by Katharine McMahon – My Review

Putnam Adult (February 18, 2010)
I first discovered McMahon’s freshman novel, The Alchemist’s Daughter as I was exploring library shelves for something new and exciting to read. I knew nothing of her or her work before I decided to check out that particular tale from my public library. While new authors are generally a risk I am finding myself gaining the ability to determine how appealing a read a book really will end up being for me from the brief synopses on covers and dust jacket flaps along with a quick skim of a few pages to get a feel for the author’s writing. A well written narrative, an enticing premise presented in a cover synopsis that grasps the imagination all buoyed by characters that quickly find a place in readers hearts and imaginations will go much further even in a genre I don’t normally read than a mediocre job in my favorite genres. This latest work by McMahon just happens to be the first type of book in a genre I adore. This author intertwines mystery. romance and characters that draw a reader in almost immediately. The few obvious clues are dropped sparingly about the plot like a connect the dots puzzle the reader must solve without knowing the correct order in which to draw the intended figure. Even if the order is soon divulged to a quick mind, the final result remains blurred as McMahon is not only a master of plot and characters but skilled at burying twists and turns of the story until the last possible moment and thus changing the apparent direction the solution travels.

The Alchemist’s daughter was a story that entranced me for hours so when I later discovered this title was releasing I knew I was in for a tasty treat. On top of it all, McMahon writes unique novels in that although they are relatively “usual” in terms of page count, they feel like the reader is immersed in the story so completely that two or three hours among her pages feels more like a couple days worth of reading. I love long novels 6hundred, 8hundred even nearly a thousand pages don’t chase me away rather they simply entice me even more knowing that if they are as wonderful as they promise being I’ll be able to enjoy them that much longer than a standard volume. McMahon’s novels although they don’t reach such excessive page counts as some of my other favorite authors, still prove a satisfying read in terms of time and exertion relative to the entertainment and appeal gained by my reading them. I hope there are more novels coming soon from this author so that I can add them to my library among the shelves of my favorite keepers. (ISBN#9780399156229, 384pp, $25.95)

Visit the author’s website. Use the bookcover above for more info or to purchase a copy. Thanks to Penguin for a review copy.

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