By: R.J. Koreto
Publisher: Level Best Books
Publication Date: September 12, 2023
Review Date: November 3, 2023
Historical mystery author R.J. Koreto is back with the second installment of his Historic Homes Mystery series entitled The Turnbull Murders. The story follows architect Wren Fontaine as she works to renovate Turnbull House, a 200-year-old house located on a private island in New York harbor.
As the story opens, Wren has just landed a prominent job where she will be renovating Turnbull House, which is special for multiple reasons. First, the house itself is a unique property, situated on a private island in New York harbor with a rich history surrounding its old owners. Secondly, Wren has been selected for this job by a movie star named Nicky Tallon, who is visiting New York from Los Angeles while he films his new movie, which is being shot on location at Turnbull House.
Wren’s one goal throughout the renovation process is to keep her worksite safe and complete the remodel efficiently, but her plans are quickly thwarted when a member of Nicky’s entourage, one of his studio executives, is killed on site at her first visit to the house. As the police investigate, Wren, along with the help of her girlfriend Hadley, begins conducting an investigation of her own, but before long, another murder among Nicky’s entourage occurs. As Wren uncovers more clues, she can’t help but notice the striking similarities between the Turnbull family who occupied the home 200 years ago and Nicky’s family who is trying to make it their own home now. Wren realizes that in order to solve the murders, she must also solve the disappearance of the sea captain who built Turnbull House many years ago. With Hadley by her side and her father’s unwavering support and advice, she embarks upon a tumultuous journey to discover the truth of not only who is behind the murders, but also what happened to the sea captain two centuries ago.
Koreto’s story of Wren trying to solve two mysteries, centuries apart, is a seamless blend of two different genres that a reader might not expect, but that works perfectly. Koreto has weaved a puzzling whodunit present-day mystery along with a historical fiction narrative, complete with references to real architects and real houses they designed. By writing his story in this manner, Koreto has allowed his story to appeal to a broader audience of readers.
One of the most unique aspects of Koreto’s story is the fascinating characters he has developed for this narrative. While there is quite a large supporting cast, Koreto takes care to thoroughly develop all of them to the point that they all play an integral role in the progression of the plot. As the main character, Wren is the epitome of a strong, capable woman, yet she is still human enough to show vulnerabilities when certain situations present themselves to her. And while Nicky is a famous movie star and his fans obsess over him, it is quite clear that he is not comfortable with his stardom. The combination of well-developed and unique characters with varying personalities further benefits the story by making them appear more real and relatable to the reader.
Quill says: With The Turnbull Murders, Koreto takes his readers on a fascinating and thrilling journey to solve two crimes, centuries apart. With both a historical component as well as the murder mysteries, readers across multiple genres will be captivated by this story from start to finish.
To learn more about The Turnbull Murders, please visit the author’s website at: https://rjkoreto.com/