It’s a Mystery: Sleeping Beauty, by Philip Margolin

Sleeping BeautyDon’t bother

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

High school junior Ashley Spencer has invited her best friend to sleep over. Neither girl can foresee the horrific events that will take place that night. A masked killer enters the home, viciously murdering Ashley’s father and friend, but Ashley herself manages to get away. She and her mother try to pick up the pieces, but her mother is also killed. When a suspect is arrested, Ashley finally feels safe, but upon his escape at his preliminary hearing, she flees to Europe, where she lives for five years. When her attorney locates her to inform her that she was adopted, Ashley returns to Oregon, only to be attacked on her second day at home.

Sleeping Beauty begins with sickeningly detailed acts of violence, which, as planned, elicit a range of emotions from the reader. From then on, however, the story is strangely devoid of feeling. Ashley Spencer, the surviving victim, is mildly sympathetic, but the rest of the characters are vapid and formulaic. The plot is poorly developed, relying so heavily upon implausible coincidence that even readers who are willing to suspend disbelief are sorely challenged. If you aren’t completely convinced about who did it by the halfway mark, you must be new to the genre, because the clues are sticking out all over the place.

Superficial and vacuous.

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