The Mystery Writer

A Novel

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Pub Date Mar 19 2024 | Archive Date Mar 24 2024

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"A mischievous twist on mystery novels and the people who write them." ―Benjamin Stevenson, author of Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone 

"Stunningly original and thoroughly captivating, Sulari Gentill’s The Mystery Writer perfectly captures the pulse of our time." —Andrew Child

There's nothing easier to dismiss than a conspiracy theory—until it turns out to be true

When Theodosia Benton abandons her career path as an attorney and shows up on her brother's doorstep with two suitcases and an unfinished novel, she expects to face a few challenges. Will her brother support her ambition or send her back to finish her degree? What will her parents say when they learn of her decision? Does she even have what it takes to be a successful writer?

What Theo never expects is to be drawn into a hidden literary world in which identity is something that can be lost and remade for the sake of an audience. When her mentor, a highly successful author, is brutally murdered, Theo wants the killer to be found and justice to be served. Then the police begin looking at her brother, Gus, as their prime suspect, and Theo does the unthinkable in order to protect him. But the writer has left a trail, a thread out of the labyrinth in the form of a story. Gus finds that thread and follows it, and in his attempt to save his sister he inadvertently threatens the foundations of the labyrinth itself. To protect the carefully constructed narrative, Theo Benton, and everyone looking for her, will have to die. 

USA Today bestselling author Sulari Gentill takes readers on a rollercoaster ride in The Mystery Writer, a literary thriller that turns the world of books and authors upside down and where a writer's voice is a thing to be controlled and weaponized, to the peril of everyone who loves a good story.

"A mischievous twist on mystery novels and the people who write them." ―Benjamin Stevenson, author of Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone 

"Stunningly original and thoroughly captivating, Sulari...

Advance Praise

“Some mysteries need a crime writer to solve. Clever, twisty, and surprisingly unexpected.”
—Michael Robotham, two-time winner of the CWA Gold Dagger Award

“Some mysteries need a crime writer to solve. Clever, twisty, and surprisingly unexpected.”
—Michael Robotham, two-time winner of the CWA Gold Dagger Award

Available Editions

EDITION Paperback
ISBN 9781728285184
PRICE $16.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 1168 members

Featured Reviews

The Mystery Writer by Sulari Gentill

Who has done it? Who committed it? What the .... about that ending? Yup, it was a great book and I'm reading it over and over because that twisted ending really "killed" me. Love it all! Make sure you grab this when it's released, it really messes with you throughout.


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Theo decides she doesn't want to be an attorney and returns home to her brother, Gus, to pursue a career in writing instead - after all, she already has a novel started. But then her mentor, a successful author, is murdered and of course Theo wants justice - but then she learns that her brother is a suspect in the case. Naturally, Theo wants to protect Gus; she then discovers that the author has left a trail of clues in the form of a story. But to solve the murder, Theo and Gus realize there is something much larger at hand. This book was really great because you never really knew what to expect or where things were headed, and I always prefer my mystery reads to not be predictable or formulaic.

Thank you to NetGalley and Poisoned Pen Press for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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As an avid reader with a well-established reading routine, I recently stumbled upon a literary gem that has left a profound impact on me. "The Mystery Writer" by Sulari Gentill possesses qualities reminiscent of the brilliant works of Agatha Christie, and I found myself utterly captivated from start to finish.

What struck me most about this book was the clever interplay of a familiar "deja-vu" feeling, as the plot brilliantly weaves contemporary issues of violence into its narrative. Sulari Gentill displays an exceptional talent for crafting a storyline that not only keeps the reader on the edge of their seat but also prompts introspection about present-day challenges.

The suspense in "The Mystery Writer" is masterfully constructed, creating a sense of urgency that intensifies with each turn of the page. The author expertly weaves a web of intrigue that draws ever tighter around the main characters, leaving readers both enthralled and eager to unravel the mysteries entwined in the tale.

I sincerely hope that Sulari Gentill will consider sharing her expertise on plot development in a conference. I would be genuinely interested in attending such an event to gain insights from a mind that has woven such a compelling and engaging narrative.

While "The Mystery Writer" is presented as a standalone, I cannot help but hope for a follow-up. This novel has earned me the title of a true fan, a description I seldom use, but this time, I wear it proudly. I am keen on following Sulari Gentill's future works and will wholeheartedly recommend her to anyone seeking exceptional storytelling.

In a world where understanding and questioning current events are crucial, authors like Sulari Gentill play a vital role. "The Mystery Writer" serves as an exceptional vehicle for fostering communication, exploring the realm of fiction, and highlighting the significance of intricate plot development.

I want to clarify that all opinions expressed here are solely my own, and I take pride in recommending "The Mystery Writer" as a captivating and thought-provoking read. Thank you to Sulari Gentill for this remarkable piece of literature that has left a lasting impact on me as a reader.

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Writers’ circles can be murder.
Another quirky mystery from Sulari Gentil about an odd bookish woman navigating the literary world and an unfortunate death. At this point, she’s a master of this craft. Easy five stars.

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I really enjoyed reading this book, and finished it within a few days. It's so readable and engaging, and feels well-written in a sort of understated, effortless way.

The main character, Theo, is very likeable and is written in such a way that I really felt like I knew her personally. She's quit her law course because what she really wants to do is write novels, and has turned up at her brother Gus's house to see if she can stay with him during the transition. There's a complication with quitting her course because they are both involved in a family agreement to do it, so there's quite a bit of stress about this. However, Theo gets started writing and seems to be happy.

Over the course of writing her novel in a cafe, she becomes aware of another author who writes there, Dan, and strikes up a friendship, only later realising that he's actually quite famous. But when Dan is murdered, Theo finds herself sucked into a very frightening and violent situation.

I liked how the author has created Theo as a very believable and rounded character. She's previously suffered sexual assault and I thought the way this was described, and the response of her brother Gus to be overprotective of Theo, was very well done. It isn't written in an over the top or melodramatic way. And it's slightly heartbreaking but all too familiar when she has times when she wonders if she is somehow to blame.

Gus is a great character too, again very believable, along with his friend Mac. I also enjoyed the descriptions of Mac's slightly wacky family.

It's a great plot with lots of twists and turns, including some very anguished parts where Theo and Gus are separated. The writer introduces different elements of the plot simultaneously before bringing them together later, which makes for an interesting read.

I've never read anything by this author before but will now be looking at her other books, especially her standalone mystery novels. I definitely recommend this book.

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This book MESSED ME UP in a good way. I was thrown for a loop at multiple points and I loved it. I could see this book being very popular when it is published.

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This is the 2nd book I have read by Gentill where I got caught up in a layered mystery involving characters that I truly enjoyed hanging with. The protagonist is always thinking and trying to figure out the best course of action but always ends up in trouble. Luckily she has the help of her lawyer brother and his wonderkind friend to rely on when she gets involved with another writer who turns up dead. Bringing in the conspiracy theorists and end of the world preppers with their online presence and the chaos they can create through that presence makes this work seem not so fiction- like. Highly recommend!

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If you are looking for a good mystery, an unusual story line, lots of well-developed characters, a little romance, and just enough threats and chills to keep you awake, then this is your book. At the beginning, the premise can be off-putting; however, I am glad I stuck with it. Sulari Gentill has earned her reputation as a very good writer, and it shows throughout this novel. This is not cookie-cutter, derivative stuff, and certainly has my recommendation.

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With a title like "The Mystery Writer," a reader could be forgiven for anticipating a contemplative sort of book about the writing life. That is not what is on offer here.

Theodosia (Theo) Benton is a newly-minted writer who has an idea for a mystery novel. She is also fleeing law school and Australia and has ended up on her brother's porch in Lawrence, Kansas. Her brother, Augustus (Gus) Benton, is a partner in a law practice.

Gus takes her in, and wisely tells Theo she needs to have somewhere to go to work on her writing. How about a bar?

This works out well for Theo at first-- just not for the corpses that start piling up. And then not so well for Theo, who becomes a suspect.

"The Mystery Writer" is quite the page-turner. Several characters are not who or what they seem to be-- but which ones?

I enthusiastically recommend "The Mystery Writer," as well as the other Sulari Gentill book I've read, "The Woman in the Library."

Thank you to NetGalley for the Advance Reader's Copy of this book.

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