No Rest For the Dead is a newly released mystery novel with 26 authors. But the mystery is more than a stunt. It’s a fast-paced mystery that will have the reader guessing until the final chapter. No Rest For the Dead tells its story from many characters’ points of view, suiting the different voices of its many different authors. With so many threads being pulled into a story that includes murder, art theft, and forgery, the plot still runs seamlessly. It is an exciting read.
In the introduction, author David Baldacci (Absolute Power) claims that this novel is no Agatha Christie drawing-room murder. He’s only half right. Neither Poirot or Miss Marple are anywhere to be seen in the hard-boiled detective yarn, but there are echoes of a favorite theme of Christie’s — a murder that happened long ago and an accused innocent — as in her famous books Five Little Pigs, Sad Cypress, and Sparkling Cyanide. No Rest For the Dead’s unfairly accused, Rosemary Heusen Thomas, even shares a first name with Sparkling Cyanide’s victim. And Rosemary, as Christie would surely want to remind the reader, means remembrance.
The multi-author chapter novel was organized by Andrew Gulli, editor of mystery magazine, Strand Magazine. Some of the world’s favorite mystery and thriller authors took part in the project, including Jeffery Deaver, (Lincoln Rhyme series), R.L. Stine (Goosebumps series), Alexander McCall Smith (#1 Lady Detective Agency and many other series), Kathy Reichs (Break No Bones), Matthew Pearl (The Dante Club), Sandra Brown (Lethal), Diana Gabaldon (Outlander series), and many others.
Guilt-ridden detective Jon Nunn, (who I wished had been named Joe — Joe just sounds more like a hard-boiled San Francisco ex-cop) is at the center of the story, trying to solve a crime he might have gotten wrong the first time around. He is also trying to find peace with himself after helping convict Rosemary for engineering the grisly murder of her philandering husband, Christopher, curator at the (fictitious) McFall Art Museum.
Rosemary was executed by lethal injection as a result of Gunn’s investigation. No Rest For the Dead weaves back and forth in time and follows various characters as they prepare to attend a memorial for Rosemary at the museum, 10 years after her execution.
What shocking revelations will there be at the memorial? Will Gunn be able to prove, once and for all, that Rosemary did indeed kill her husband? Or if the opposite is proved, will he be able to track down Christopher Thomas’s killer after so many years have passed?
No Rest For the Dead is an entertaining read. It is fun for the reader to see if they can recognize their favorite author, and to try and unravel the clues to the solution of the crime.
The full list of participating authors: David Baldacci (Introduction), Jeff Abbott, Lori Armstrong, Sandra Brown, Thomas Cook, Jeffery Deaver, Diana Gabaldon, Tess Gerritsen, Andrew F. Gulli, Peter James, J.A. Jance, Faye Kellerman, Raymond Khoury, John Lescroart, Jeff Lindsay, Gayle Lynds, Philip Margolin, Alexander McCall Smith, Michael Palmer, T. Jefferson Parker, Matthew Pearl, Kathy Reichs, Marcus Sakey, Jonathan Santlofer, Lisa Scottoline, R.L. Stine, Marcia Talley.