The Bottom Line: A delicious whodunnit that establishes Lee Chappel’s style as both instantly recognizable and irresistible.
You might have guessed that the title of Lee Chappel’s second thriller, Trust, is ironic. But only the most clever readers will guess who the killer is before Chappel’s detective, Ben Keeler, figures it out.
Trust tells the story of Beth Sullivan, who engages in what can only be described as a 21st century romance. She meets Dave152 online, and eventually takes a chance by meeting him in person. It goes well – they even have Dutch ancestry in common – but she doesn’t even learn his real name until their third in-person date.
Soon, they’re engaged to be married. Their pre-wedding bliss doesn’t last long, in part due to uncomfortable inquires about David’s financial situation and a murder that leaves Beth as the prime suspect.
As she did in her debut novel Crickets, Chappel tells the story from multiple characters’ points of view (POV). For most writers, emulating Chappel’s narrative structure would be a spectacular failure that would make reading a messy chore. But somehow – perhaps the combination of her poetic descriptions, the way the various POVs fit together like precisely cut puzzle pieces, and the obvious implication that one of these many characters is lying – the formula works like magic.
Ben Keeler is another nice surprise. Hardly a detective in the traditional sense, his disciplined methodology is a perfect compliment to the disheveled lives of those he investigates. He doesn’t speak often, but when he does, we found ourselves leaning forward in our easy chair.
Readers are in for a superb whodunnit that is as beautifully written as it is well-crafted. If any book was ever made for a Book Club discussion, this is it. Expect plenty of discussions where readers sound like they know Tara, Abigail, Beth and the others like old friends.