Cover Image: Unnatural Ends

Unnatural Ends

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Member Reviews

I really enjoyed this book. I loved traveling back in time and being a fly on the wall off classic detective story. I found myself trying to guess where the story might be going a few times and was pleasantly surprised whenever it was not as I thought. 
While it could be a little slow at times, I don't feel it distracted from the story. Sometimes the detail with which the author set the stage/tone really helped me feel like I was there just advice it all experiencing the chaos alongside the Linwood children.  
This is a great read for anyone interested in historical fiction, psychology, familial relationships. I would recommend this book, and look forward to reading other titles by this author.
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I had no idea this was going to turn out to be historical fiction from the description, and frankly it took me a fair bit of reading before I actually realized the time frame... I'll be honest, while I enjoy historical fiction, I didn't like being caught off guard by the time. And for some reason didn't feel like it fit the story despite the obvious nods to Dame Agatha (actually more than nods - more like full-body hugs). I found there to be way too much description and not nearly enough investigation, and the story moved at a glacial pace that didn't feel appropriate to its billing and that really dragged things out, especially in a novel this long. 

Had I gone into this one utterly cold I might have had a better time with it, but I was expecting Knives Out only to find myself instead with A Farewell to Arms by way of any Agatha Christie... It was a disjointed feeling and left me a bit flummoxed. I figured out the big secret early on, and the other secrets that led up to it were presented in heart-wrenching - and sometimes gut-wrenching - detail that I had a hard time with.  Huang is a talented writer, but the story just didn't deliver what I expected it to and as a result I struggled with it from start to finish. 

All in all this one just wasn't a good fit for me...
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*Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for a free review copy in exchange for an honest review. 

I have mixed feelings with this one! The story and the plot were okayish, good at times, but dragged too at times. 
About the plot - Sir Linwood is brutally murdered and it is upto his adopted children - Alan, Roger and Caroline to find the suspect as it was their father's last demand, he made a strange will to leave all of his estate to the heir who solved his murder. 
The premise is exciting but that's about it. I could guess how things were going to unfold and that doesn't makes it a good mystery, right! But kudos to the author, his writing if not brilliant but is still very very remarkable. It had all the 'Agatha Christie' vibes and that is a big achievement. 
The first half dragged but it regained it's pace back in the second half. I personally enjoyed the perspectives from all the characters, it gave a complete picture. 
This book touches some common and recycled tropes and hence I won't say it as a standout but the writing is good enough to enjoy and I'm willing to read more of the author's work in the future.
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This book was interesting... but a little too slow in the beginning for my liking. I mean sure, they do jump into the plot by the second or third chapter, but after that it seems like mainly filler. It took until I was about 70% finished the book for excitement to happen and that was because their father was still alive. Which wasn't all too unexpected because the thought had crossed my mind way before and the main characters also mentioned that they thought that 

I liked the concept of the book, however. I liked that the main characters were looking for who their father's killers were and they were constantly haunted by flashbacks of what their father wanted from them... mainly zero pity, sympathy, etc. 

I think this book could've been better if it wasn't so long and had less fillers in it.
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Set post-WWI England, this story begins as three adopted adult children return to Linwood Hall upon hearing of the death of their powerful and overbearing father. Once they arrive, they learn that he has appointed them to discover who murdered him--the first one to do so will receive the inheritance. This is a character-driven book filled with lots of Agatha Christie-like elements. For me, though it was intriguing, and the mystery was not revealed until the end, it was a somewhat tedious read due to the plethora of gothic setting descriptions. It will appeal to the reader who enjoys historical fiction of this era.

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an advance copy of this title to read and review.
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Unnatural Ends is much less of a murder mystery than the summary would have you think. Yes, there's a body, and yes, there's an investigation, but all of that is largely sidelined by the family drama that's revealed throughout the plot (as tends to happen when the overbearing patriarch is no longer around). Sir Lawrence Linwood is dead, and has an interesting clause in his will: whichever of his three adopted children solves his murder will become the sole heir. This is an interesting set-up, and the siblings themselves are very cool characters-Alan is an archaeologist, Roger is involved in engineering, and Caroline is involved in theater-and the 1920's rural town England setting makes it even better. But, as the siblings uncover more family secrets, the book becomes less about about avenging their father, and more about learning the truth and making peace with how strict and not great their childhood really was. There's also a small cast of supporting characters outside the family-Roger's soon to be fiancé, the inspector, an actor, various townspeople loyal to the Linwoods-but the focus is on the siblings. As a murder mystery, I wasn't really satisfied with how the plot went, the reveal wasn't supported enough and the resolution was quick and not well-explained. Had it been just a historical fiction novel about a family coping after the father's death, the book would've worked better for me.
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The story centers around the murder of Sir Lawrence Linwood - who killed this well-respected benefactor and owner of Linwood Hall.  Everything is not what it seems, though.  Sir Lawrence’s children are called home for the funeral.  At the reading of the will, the children find out that, in the terms of the will, they have to find out who the killer is in order to inherit the estate.  I could not put the book down as I was hurled to the ending surprise.
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Sir Lawrence Linwood has died and his sons, scattered around the world, are called home for the reading of the will and the funeral. The unusual thing is that Sir Lawrence has been murdered and in the will it is written that his vast and flourishing estate will go to the one of the sons who will discover his murderer. This takes the three by surprise, since each of them had been told by their father that he, or her, was the designated heir: as all three were adopted, primogeniture would not apply.
What begins as a thriller set in England between the wars soon turns into a story dealing with a personality as fearsome as it is disturbed, the of Father, who has raised the three children with rigid ferocity, driving them to a competitiveness that provides no mercy and should stop at nothing. However, as the secrets of Linwood Hollow are revealed, Sir Lawrence's eugenic experiment is put to the test.
A fine novel, unusual in its premise and unfolding, capable of providing new surprises on every page.
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I’m sorry to say that this was just way too slow for my taste and dragged on. I wasn’t able to finish it.
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I really enjoyed this book! It hooked me from the very first chapter, and kept me hooked the entire time!
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Thank you to Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review! 

Whoa! This book was excellently paced and quite interesting. We enter into a world that is set in the 1920s. We meet three siblings Alan, Caroline, and Roger. Their father was just brutally murdered. They now have to solve his death and whoever does it first receives a hefty inheritance. Now we go down a crazy rabbit hole full of mystery and twists. The real question is who did it?

What I loved:
- well paced and well written. Thus was an enjoyable read 
- Multiple POVs which really helps with unraveling the murder mystery
- The twists were so unexpected and well done!
- The bond between the three adopted siblings 

Overall this book was an excellent weekend read! The book was very easy to read in one sitting. I am looking forward to future books from this author. 3.5 out of 5 stars.
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Trigger warning: Animal abuse

Thank you to the author and NetGalley for this advance review copy. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It's set in the 1900s-1920s, which was an interesting setting. It reads like it was written back then, which I appreciate. Some books feel modern and forced in older time periods but this one worked. The setting and writing style made me think of Agatha Christie. 

We follow the 3 adult children of Sir Lawrence Linwood as they work to find their father's murderer and, by extension, learn more about who their father was. As they make each new revelation, I became more engrossed. What seemed like a semi-straightforward mystery had some great twists and turns. By the end of Part 2, I was struggling to put it down. The story is a bit disturbing and definitely a book that I'll remember. 

The author does a great job of switching perspectives since different chapters follow different individuals. I appreciate how the chapters started with the person's name, making it easy to follow. This was a well paced story. The author clearly thought out the story and was overall successful in telling it. The ending felt a bit abrupt/rushed. 

What drove me nuts was how many times the author used "Linwood" at the end of character names. I promise, by 250 pages in, I know who Caroline is and don't need the Linwood appended. If just excess use of the word "Linwood" was removed, the book would probably shorten by 30 pages. It was a lot, especially at the end. And then when the epilogue clarified that Roger was Caroline's brother, after hundreds of pages about that, I was ready to scream. Yes, the epilogue is a year later, but I read the last chapter 60 seconds ago - I know who everyone is. 

Other than that, this was a great book with an interesting story.
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I was on the edge! of! my! seat! for the entire second half of this book. 

This story was so well-crafted, I was drawn in slowly by the immense detail that went into setting the scene and establishing the Linwood siblings’ backstories. As more and more mysteries continued to unfold, I knew I wouldn’t be able to put the book down until I had answers. 

And oh, what good answers I found. Although at one point I thought I had figured everything out, there were so many twists & turns in the penultimate chapters that I couldn’t see it clearly until the very end. 

Brilliant writing, and a worthy homage to the classic murder mysteries of the 20th century.
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Ich kannte weder den Autor noch den Verlag, aber die Kurzbeschreibung klang extrem vielversprechend: Wir sind im Jahre 1921 in Yorkshire. Sir Lawrence Linwood wird brutal ermordet aufgefunden. Zur Beerdigung reisen seine drei Adoptivkinder an: der Archäologe Alan, der Ingenieur Roger und die Journalistin Caroline. Bei der Testamentseröffnung wird klar: derjenige der Nachkommen, der den Mörder findet, wird Alleinerbe sein. Und nun geht das Spiel los: natürlich will jeder den Fall lösen. Aber schon sehr bald stolpern die Geschwister über Merkwürdigkeiten, die erstmal weniger mit dem Mord zu tun haben, als vielmehr mit ihnen selbst und ihrer Herkunft und Erziehung, und jetzt fängt die Sache an, wirklich spannend zu werden….
Soviel zur Ausgangslage, und wenn ich jetzt schon schreibe, es wird spannend, das muss ich das noch mehrfach unterschreiben: das war wirklich clever geplottet und extrem spannend!
Die Geschwister – alle drei übrigens auf ihre Weise froh, dem übermächtigem, alles kontrollierenden Vater irgendwann mal zumindest räumlich entkommen zu sein, sind gezwungen, tief in ihre Kindheit einzutauchen und ihre biologische Herkunft aufzudecken. Und  - kurzer Spoiler – sie entdecken, dass sie ihr ganzes Leben manipuliert wurden. Während die drei mehr oder weniger mit der Hilfe der lokalen Polizei mit den Mordermittlungen beschäftigt sind, spielt sich also im Hintergrund ein zweiter, extrem faszinierender psychologischer Plot ab, den ich fast noch interessanter fand als den Kriminalfall. Wie reagiert man, wenn man feststellt, dass vieles im Leben auf einer Lüge beruhte? Die drei Geschwister reagieren zumindest ganz und gar nicht so, wie ihr Vater es gerne gehabt hätte. (was mich als Leserin beruhigte: ich glaube gerne weiterhin daran, dass der Mensch einen freien Willen hat 😉!)
Ich war von dem Buch komplett gefesselt. Die Charaktere inklusive aller Nebendarsteller haben mich komplett überzeugt. Meine Favoriten war der mittlere des Linwood-Trios, Roger, der mit seiner Verlobten, der eher unscheinbaren, aber extrem intelligenten und smarten Iris, oftmals den richtigen Riecher bewies, und der sich allen Umständen zum Trotz seine Warmherzigkeit bewahrt hat. Aber wie gesagt, überzeugend und psychologisch interessant waren sie alle – auch die eher bizarren Gestalten wie Lady Linwood, die nur mit „Mother“ tituliert wurde. 
Auch vom historischen Hintergrund hat alles gepasst. Die Atmosphäre war so Downton Abby- mässig, was ich sehr mochte, und man konnte in die Zeit richtig eintauchen. Im ländlichen England vor 100 Jahren waren wohl tatsächlich noch Reste der Feudalherrschaft zu spüren: die Herren von Linwood Hall haben jahrhundertelang die Geschicke der Gegend gelenkt, und die lokale Bevölkerung verehrt sie immer noch. Interessante sozio-historische Einblicke; fand ich als nicht-britische Leserin spannend, nur mal nebenbei bemerkt.
Ja, das Buch habe ich natürlich im englischen Original gelesen, und daher auch noch mal ein paar Worte zum Stil: Einerseits war ich so gefesselt, dass ich das Buch in ein paar Tagen durchgelesen hatte, aber für mich als Nicht-Muttersprachlerin war das dieses Mal eine etwas anspruchsvollere Lektüre. Der Autor schreibt flüssig, aber elegant und mit teils ungewohnt langen Sätzen. Ich mag das gerne, das fordert mich auch mal wieder etwas heraus, aber das ist keine Lektüre zum zackig-runterlesen, das Level ist schon etwas gehobener. Und ich hab auch teils mein Wörterbuch heranziehen müssen – hier plaudert die englische Oberklasse 😉.
Mein Fazit: das war richtig gut. Unerwartete Twists bis zum Ende. Immer ein hohes Spannungslevel. Ich empfehle das Buch unbedingt weiter, und bedanke mich bei Netgalley fürs Vorablesen!
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Christopher Huang's Unnatural Ends traces the relationships and movements of three siblings joined through adoption to the Linwood Family after the murder of their father.  When the will is read, it is revealed that the sibling who solves his murder will be the inheritor of the estate.  While investigating the murder, each sibling discovers facts about their own lives and relationships become clear.  The end provides clarity on the influence of the father on his children. This book was a satisfying read, even with the ending being a little rushed.
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The description of this book sounded right up my alley: a murder mystery in a historical setting. 

Unfortunately, the book didn't quite live up to that expectation for me for a number of reasons:
- This was an incredibly slow mystery; and in this case, the tortoise didn't beat the hare. 
- Huang seemed to combine two book ideas into one: a murder mystery and a treatise on finding one's adopted siblings. Unfortunately, these two didn't combine well here. The siblings felt like a long aside that made the book longer than it needed to be without adding much depth. I enjoy books about family dynamics as a general rule but it didn't add much to the plot and didn't work for me in this instance.
- When we finally got to the conclusion, the book summed it all up so fast that it felt rushed and almost anti-climactic. 
- I wonder if Huang wrote it with a thesaurus in hand (or perhaps is simply rather pretentious with an extensive vocabulary). It was unnecessary and forced.

Basically, the expected level of excitement and urgency never really appeared and the story dragged on.. 

Sadly, this one was a disappointment.
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Unnatural Ends is a twisty, atmospheric murder mystery that gave me all the feels. Set in 1920's England at Linwood Hall, a huge manor set on the side of a cliff, the story starts out with the murder of the wealthy father of three siblings.  From there, we learn all about each of the family members and their history at Linwood Hall.  All along the way, the countryside and the manor house are characters in and of themselves.  It felt like I was there and could see all the places we went along with Alan, Roger, and Caroline.  As much as I would like to say I knew the person behind the murder, I was completely surprised!  And, there were many twists and turns along the way.  I felt this was a really well written mystery and really kept me guessing.   If you like gothic historical mystery, add this to your TBR!
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Are you looking for a mystery for a book club pick that has a Golden Age flavor similar to Agatha Christie with the bonus of deep themes and interesting characters? Then you’ll want to read “Unnatural Ends” by Christopher Huang. 

“Unnatural Ends” has a classic set-up. A patriarch dies and when the family gathers to read the will, it’s revealed the death was murder. Where “Unnatural Ends” departs from many classic mysteries is the depth of characterization of the three adult children as well as explorations of the themes of control, independence, expection, and competition. Add in a layer of Gothic overtones and you have a novel tailor-made for deep and interesting book club discussions. 

Read-alikes include mysteries with sibling sleuths, Yorkshire settings, and Huang’s first book, “A Gentleman’s Murder.” 

Full episode about "Unnatural Ends" will release in December 2022 and be available for download on any podcast app. Thanks to NetGalley and Inkshares for a review copy. All opinions are my own.
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I liked this book.  I feel like it could have been confusing with the format, but the author did a great job of ensuring the reader always knew the viewpoint of the moment.  It is a bit of a mystery and it keeps the reader interested.  When you are reading, all of these possibilities go through your mind.  I did come upon the solution, at least to some degree.  Most of the characters are fairly likeable and you feel for them.  However, one person is a horrible person.  I did enjoy the book and would recommend it.
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I dived into this novel not knowing anything aside from the fact that it is historical fiction, a murder mystery, and written by someone who grew up in Singapore (!!), so imagine my surprise when I found myself in a world not entirely unlike that of an Agatha Christie novel. The premise is somewhat familiar — a locked room whodunnit, a crumbling gothic mansion, and an inheritance to be fought over by three adopted orphans.

Except, these orphans aren’t too interested in fighting each other as they are in coming to terms with their shared trauma. I initially thought the title referred to their dead father’s untimely death, since he died quite unnaturally. But as the circumstances of their respective births came to light, I came to the realisation that the title also cleverly foreshadows their father’s ulterior motives for raising them.

I’ll admit the culprit is not difficult to suss out, especially if you’ve read a lot of mystery, but the journey to the end is still an enjoyable and occasionally gripping one. I liked best how there wasn’t heavy-handed melodrama as it would have cheapened the serious themes of domestic abuse and exploitation.
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