Saturday, 21 April 2018

Sarah’s Review of Abandoned, A Jennifer Malone Mystery, by John Schlarbaum


Jennifer Malone is a hard-working, investigative journalist, looking for her next big story. Abandoned is the second book in the Jennifer Malone Mystery series by author John Schlarbaum, but it can be read as a standalone novel. This is actually the first Jennifer Malone Mystery I have read and I didn’t feel as though I needed any more background information than what the author gave in this book.

In Abandoned, we are introduced to an elderly patient, Helga Klemens, as she is about to undergo emergency hip surgery. Just before she is wheeled in, she says “Don’t let them kill me,” to a hospital porter named Luke. It is Luke’s job to assure her that everything will be fine as he sees a lot of people frightened before surgery. Unbeknownst to Luke, those were her last words.

That afternoon we meet Jennifer Malone, a newspaper reporter who happens upon the hospital morgue while digging into a John Doe case. After speaking with the coroner, Jennifer and Luke cross paths, along with Luke’s girlfriend, Maryanne who works as a security guard at the hospital. Both Luke and Maryanne find Helga’s death shocking though they can’t quite figure out why.

The rest of the story takes place over the course of five days in which Jennifer delves deep into the investigation in order to figure out what happened in the operating room. Then another John Doe washes ashore. Jennifer strives to get to the bottom of it and wonders if these deaths are related or if there is a killer out there.

Throughout this novel, we meet many extraordinary characters. They are introduced in an order that helps all of the clues fall into place at exactly the right time. Even though many of the characters are secondary and aren’t overly represented throughout the whole novel, I still found that I had a great sense of who they are as a person from the descriptions and language Schlarbaum uses. Every character had their own unique personality and voice.

Abandoned is written from may varying points of view. Sometime switching perspectives in the middle of a chapter. In this sense, I found that it was written as though you are watching a television show as the thoughts aren’t only one-sided in the scenes. You get everyone’s perspective so you have all of the information, thoughts and feelings moving forward throughout the book.

It’s extraordinary how intricate and inexplicably woven our lives can be with those around us. This novel shows us that even people we don’t know can have an immense impact on our lives. All of the characters intertwine with each other and everything comes together perfectly in the end.

Schlarbaum uses just the right amount of descriptives in order for the reader to easily envision the story unfolding. The book is fast paced, keeping you turning page after page because you just need to know what happened. Abandoned is a great mystery novel, full of twists and turns.

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