Author(s): Jeannette de Beauvoir
Pages count: 320 pages
Publisher: Minatour Books
Rating: 3 stars
Publication Date: March 10th, 2015
Disclaimer: I was given this book in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to Minotaur Books and NetGalley!
I have a love/hate relationship with mystery novels. I used to read a ton of them a couple of years ago but I’ve grown tired of how predictable some of them are. Right now, I rarely read mysteries or thrillers at all. It had been a very long time since my last thriller read so when I saw this title on NetGalley I became interested and decided to give it a chance. This book was extra cool because I got to learn some Canadian history that I didn’t know about!
Premise off GoodReads:
Martine LeDuc is the director of PR for the mayor’s office in Montreal. When four women are found brutally murdered and shockingly posed on park benches throughout the city over several months, Martine’s boss fears a PR disaster for the still busy tourist season, and Martine is now also tasked with acting as liaison between the mayor and the police department. The women were of varying ages, backgrounds and body types and seemed to have nothing in common. Yet the macabre presentation of their bodies hints at a connection. Martine is paired with a young detective, Julian Fletcher, and together they dig deep into the city’s and the country’s past, only to uncover a dark secret dating back to the 1950s, when orphanages in Montreal and elsewhere were converted to asylums in order to gain more funding. The children were subjected to horrific experiments such as lobotomies, electroshock therapy, and psychotropic medication, and many of them died in the process. The survivors were supposedly compensated for their trauma by the government and the cases seem to have been settled. So who is bearing a grudge now, and why did these four women have to die?
Not until Martine finds herself imprisoned in the terrifying steam tunnels underneath the old asylum does she put the pieces together. And it is almost too late for her…in Jeannette de Beauvoir’s Asylum.
The cover gave me major horror novel feels and, to be honest, that’s what caught my interest in the first place. When you read the book and get into the story you’ll realize that in fact it is pretty terrifying. Something else that made me want to read this book was the way the victims were found. I love the way the killer presented his/her victims mainly because I had never seen it before!
One of the strong points of this novel is the complex back story and how well it flows with the present assassinations. At the very end of every chapter we get to peek inside a girl who lived in the asylum’s life and it kept me wondering who that girl was and how it linked to the present. The writing is not the best I’ve seen but it is very good. I found myself enjoying the story a little bit too much! This book kept my mind working through the 320 pages and I literally devoured them.
Some of the passages are thought-provoking which I always love and to think that this actually happened in real life (not the killings but the orphans’ abuse) is heart-wrenching.
One of my favorite quotes is…
“Just because a crazy person did it doesn’t mean there’s not a sane reason behind it.”
I had two major problems with this novel though. While I loved the writing, the flow of the story, and the complexity of the plot I found the characters flat and with no personality. The relationships between the characters felt forced and fake and I just couldn’t buy any of it. The main character’s relationship with her husband seemed too perfect to be true. He seemed like a puppet following her orders. The only character that was genuine to me was Julian Fletcher, the policeman that helps our main character through the investigation. He was a complete mess of a policeman but funny and utterly entertaining!
The second issue I found was that I was able to predict the end about 80 pages before the novel ended which made it very hard for me to continue with it. At the very end, I found myself skipping through the final pages as I found the finale totally anticlimactic when it should’ve felt the complete opposite.
Overall, I really enjoyed it and I would recommend it if you are a fan of thrillers and mysteries. If you don’t mind flat characters and you don’t usually predict the endings then you are going to love it!