Book Review: The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz (Hawthorne & Horowitz, 1)

The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz is a unique and intriguing mystery novel that blurs the lines between fiction and reality. The novel follows the story of a disgraced police detective, Daniel Hawthorne, who is hired by a wealthy woman to investigate her own murder. The catch? The wealthy woman is still alive, and the investigation takes place in real-time.

The novel is told from the perspective of Horowitz himself, who inserts himself into the story as a character, hired by Hawthorne to write a book about the investigation. This metafictional device adds a layer of complexity to the narrative and allows Horowitz to comment on the art of storytelling and the relationship between author and character.

Horowitz’s writing is engaging and fast-paced, with plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader guessing. The character of Hawthorne is particularly well-drawn, with his gruff demeanor and mysterious backstory adding an air of intrigue to the story. Horowitz himself is also a charming and entertaining character, often serving as a stand-in for the reader’s own thoughts and reactions to the events of the story.

One of the strengths of The Word is Murder is its attention to detail. Horowitz clearly did his research into police procedures and the London setting, which adds a level of authenticity to the story. The novel also explores themes of celebrity culture, the price of success, and the nature of truth, making it more than just a simple whodunit.

However, the novel is not without its flaws. Some readers may find the self-referential nature of the narrative distracting or pretentious, and the ending may be divisive. Additionally, some of the secondary characters are not as well-developed as Hawthorne and Horowitz.

The Word is Murder is a clever and engaging mystery novel that will appeal to classic and contemporary detective fiction fans. Horowitz’s use of metafiction adds a unique and intriguing dimension to the narrative, making it a standout in the genre.

Pick up this first installment in the Hawthorne and Horowitz series from Amazon here.


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