Friday, October 7, 2016

Susan Elia MacNeal: The Queen's Accomplice

By Kelly Bridgewater

Spy and code-breaker extraordinaire Maggie Hope returns to war-weary London, where she is thrust into the dangerous hunt for a monster, as the New York Times bestselling mystery series for fans of Jacqueline Winspear, Charles Todd, and Anne Perry continues.
England, 1942. The Nazis’ relentless Blitz may have paused, but London’s nightly blackouts continue. Now, under the cover of darkness, a madman is brutally killing and mutilating young women in eerie and exact re-creations of Jack the Ripper’s crimes. What’s more, he’s targeting women who are reporting for duty to be Winston Churchill’s spies and saboteurs abroad. The officers at MI-5 quickly realize they need the help of special agent Maggie Hope to find the killer dubbed “the Blackout Beast.” A trap is set. But once the murderer has his sights on Maggie, not even Buckingham Palace can protect the resourceful spy from her fate.

From Amazon

My Thoughts:

World War II. London. Blitz. Murder. Jack the Ripper. Sounds like a great novel to spend a couple of hours with. I really enjoy all of these separate categories, and when an author puts them together, magic happens. I really enjoy historical mysteries, but with Susan Elia MacNeal's newest book in her widely popular Maggie Hope mystery series, The Queen's Accomplice, I didn't really like it.

First, the writing was strong and concise. There was no point of view shifts. Since the story is told from four different point of views, I really had no problem following who was the character speaking at the moment. I had no problem imagining the scenes before me and enjoying becoming Maggie for a short period of time.

Since I have only read one of MacNeal's other books, I really didn't have a lot to compare the story to, but it wasn't one of my favorite historical writers. While the story did elude to a number of historical elements like the Blitz and a concentration camp, I felt like this story could have happened yesterday. With the technology that Maggie was using, it read like a CSI episode. While the bibliography at the end of the story was pretty extensive, I wished the story would have felt more historical in nature.

Maggie, as the heroine, was a strong woman character, but she had flaws. For instance, she appeared to not like men at all. Every man she met, she criticized and had them say hateful things about women at every turn. I know the murderer didn't like women, but MacNeal made every single male egotistic and annoying.  I wish there would have been more moments with the serial killer's perspective; it would have captured my attention.

As for the mystery, like I mentioned earlier, it felt like a modern day mystery. There really wasn't a 
lot of looking for clues. Maggie would hunt for clues on the dead body when a new body was discovered, but she really didn't seem to care when the bodies weren't in front of her. She didn't really interview a lot of people or do any research. The story dragged, and after a while, I skipped through the pages. Plus, I figured out who the bad guy was pretty early on.

Not the historical or mystery novel I am used, Susan Elia MacNeal's The Queen's Accomplice really didn't grab my attention. If you are a fan of serial killers' novels, I recommend trying Steven James' Patrick Bower series. If World War II fiction is your choice, I recommend Sarah Sundin;  she really brings the 1940's to life.

I received a complimentary copy of The Queen's Accomplice, and the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

When you read a historical novel, do you want to actually feel like you have been transported to that time period?

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