Book Review: The Sentence is Death

This is the second in what I hope becomes a long series in which Anthony Horowitz, the author, writes himself into the narrative. His first work like this, The Word is Murder, was incredibly clever, and The Sentence of Death follows suit.

Once again, the Sherlock-ish private detective Daniel Hawthorne asks Anthony, a crime/thriller novelist, to help him solve a mystery by serving as his Watson. This time, a celebrity divorce lawyer Richard Pryce was found dead in his home – knocked out and killed by someone with an expensive bottle of wine.

The story is told through Anthony’s point of view, so it’s as if we’re getting Watson’s narration of how annoying and clever Sherlock – or Daniel Hawthorne – can be. I know it seems odd to have the author insert himself as a fictional (yet real?) character, but trust me – Horowitz makes it work. It is very well done.

The twisty, turvy mystery slowly unwinds as Hawthorne and Horowitz interview suspects and gather clues. They are an entertaining pair, and the unraveling of who murdered Pryce (and why) kept me engaged. However, I wouldn’t start this one without reading The Word is Murder first. You need a proper introduction to these guys.