My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Nevada Barr took a respite from her acclaimed Anna Pigeon mystery series to delve into the heart and mind of a mass murderer. Dylan Raines, age 11, awakes one horrifying night to find that he’s being blamed for the axe murders of his parents and baby sister. He can’t remember a thing about the killings, no matter what the psychiatrists try. Dubbed “Butcher Boy”, he manages to survive the juvenile justice system, sustained by weekly visits from his older brother, Richard. When he’s finally released, he moves to New Orleans under the name Marshall Marchand, becoming a successful architect, husband, and father. But once he’s established his new life, gruesome murders begin to occur.
A book that begins with promise shortly becomes predictable, and while all the murders are indeed harrowing, most of the suspense is diluted as a result. Though based upon an actual case, 13 1/2 does not match up to the quality of the Anna Pigeon novels.