Title: The Sentence is Death
Author: Anthony Horowitz
‘You shouldn’t be here. It’s too late… ’
These, heard over the phone, were the last recorded words of successful celebrity-divorce lawyer Richard Pryce, found bludgeoned to death in his bachelor pad with a bottle of wine – a 1982 Chateau Lafite worth £3,000, to be precise.
Odd, considering he didn’t drink. Why this bottle? And why those words? And why was a three-digit number painted on the wall by the killer? And, most importantly, which of the man’s many, many enemies did the deed?
Baffled, the police are forced to bring in Private Investigator Daniel Hawthorne and his sidekick, the author Anthony, who’s really getting rather good at this murder investigation business.
But as Hawthorne takes on the case with characteristic relish, it becomes clear that he, too, has secrets to hide. As our reluctant narrator becomes ever more embroiled in the case, he realises that these secrets must be exposed – even at the risk of death…
The Sentence is Death is another brilliant novel from one of my favourite authors, Anthony Horowitz. I particularly enjoy this series as it’s definitely different from most other ‘crime’ novels; I love the self-aware style of writing. Anthony Horowitz writes as himself, having been employed to write three books about ex-Detective Hawthorne. This is the second – the first one being The Word is Murder, another great novel [read my review here] – and throughout Anthonoy includes references to his life as a writer, his family and much more. It really feels like you’re reading a story that’s really happened, and I love the way Horowitz vents his frustration with people and the book industry in general through The Sentence is Death‘s pages (I loved the part where it’s suggested he should “write a Bond next”, to which Horowitz admits it’s something “I’d wanted to do all my life” – and, of course, he has now written Forever and a Day!)
Both ‘characters’ of Hawthorne and Horowitz are brilliant, though Hawthorne is, at times, deeply flawed and an unlikable character – there are MANY things about him I dislike, and yet I can’t help but want to read more about him because the story is told through Anthony Horowitz’s humorous, entertaining voice.
The plot is just as enjoyable as The Word is Murder, and though there are some (I feel) obvious parts that I did sort of see coming, there were also some really clever surprises as the story went on.
This novel is satisfyingly self-aware, really clever and definitely entertaining – I loved every page. I’m already looking forward to book no.3!
Many thanks to Cornerstone for providing a copy of this book on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.