by Rachel Howzell Hall
When Miriam Macy receives an invitation to be a participant on a reality TV show with a $1 million prize, she just knows it’s exactly what she needs to restart her life.
Thanks to an excellent attorney, Miriam has just escaped a lengthy prison sentence for goading a teenaged bully into suicide.
Once a friend of Miriam’s daughter Morgan, the girl had focused racist taunts at Morgan. Miriam’s maternal instincts and professional social media skills had been locked and loaded against the teen bully.
Miriam believes the girl’s family is still harassing her. Her ex-husband and public opinion are outraged at the lengths to which she went to protect Morgan. And Morgan will no longer speak to her.
From the moment Miriam arrives at Puerto Peñasco, Mexico, to board the yacht that will take her and the other contestants to Mictin Island, her dreams of fame and redemption start to go sour. Miriam is seasick crossing the Sea of Cortez to the island. Once on shore, there is no one to greet them or help get their luggage up the hill to where they will be staying.
At the mansion, one of the group, Wallace Zavarnella, announces that they have been brought to the island under false premises. There’s no million-dollar prize waiting for Miriam; no island getaway for the widowed Desirée Scoggins; no high powered-networking event for banker Frank Clayton, Wallace tells them. They have been invited to the island to participate in a memorial service for the attorney they have in common: Phillip Omeke.
Phillip, Wallace’s significant other, died of brain tumor the previous month. He kept it a secret, but the seven guests had a special place in his life and he wanted to be sure they came to his memorial.
Yet even that is a ruse, the guests on the island soon learn. Philip represented them in court successfully, but each of them is hiding a felonious secret.
From their first dinner at the mansion, prepared by guest and executive chef Javier Cardoza, death haunts the guests. One by one, in amazing and baffling ways, they all fall down — dead.
This is a retelling of Agatha Christie’s AND THEN THERE WERE NONE (1939). But, oh, what an entertaining revision! Rachel Howzell Hall’s version is modern and more compelling than Christie’s version. And Christie’s version is considered one of the world’s best-selling mysteries, with more than 100 million copies sold.
Hall doesn’t just retell Christie’s story with new character names and professions. She rethinks the hows and whys of the multiple mysteries involved in the twisted plot of the story. She successfully manages that oh, so tricky, challenge of taking a character like Miriam, who has some despicable aspects, and still manages to make her someone you can have sympathy for to the last page. This is the pinnacle of locked room mysteries.
Hall is an excellent storyteller and writer. Her vivid images will haunt you long after you finish this book.
THEY ALL FALL DOWN was nominated for the Anthony Award, the Lefty Award and the ITW Award.
About the Author: Rachel Howzell Hall (1971 – )
Rachel Howzell Hall is a member of the Board of Directors of the Southern California chapter of Mystery Writers of America.
She is the author of the Detective Lou Norton series (LAND OF SHADOWS, SKIES OF ASH, TRAIL OF ECHOES, and CITY OF SAVIORS) and the stand-alone novels AND NOW SHE’S GONE (2020), THE VIEW FROM HERE (2010), and A QUIET STORM (2002).