Book Review: The Natural Victim By Peter Reynard

The computer always keeps watch and it never lies.

So when the computer says that Eric Wanbois’ ID, and only Eric Wanbois’ ID, was used to enter a locked room one night, the same night and the same locked room in which a grad student is found brutally murdered, the police are sure they have their man.

Even Eric’s lawyer accepts his client’s guilt. But Eric insists he is innocent, and Dieter Fox – fellow grad student and voracious reader of detective fiction – believes him.

And as luck would have it, I’m Dieter’s roommate; his Dr. Watson and Capt. Hastings, all rolled into one.

To solve the case, Dieter (and I) must figure out how Eric’s ID was used three times that night though Eric claims he used it only once.

And who is the mysterious stranger seen inside the room hours before the murder?

As Dieter and I start to dig deeper we discover that there is no shortage of people who hated the victim, including the victim’s lab mates and his ex.

But who hated the victim enough to kill him? And why?

18078654I enjoyed this 14 chapter book. My favorite lines: 1) “A good detective keeps his mind open.” 2) “I’d never have thought of him as a killer, but you can never really know anyone, can you?” 3) “No one got along with him. He was sly, cunning, and lazy. A deadly combination,” he replied.

The story definitely focused on Dieter even though it was told through another character’s first person point of view. I don’t even think the guy’s name was ever mentioned. They were college roommates and both loved to read mysteries. As a reader, i had respect for Dieter’s detective skills. It reminded me of back in the day when I used to act like I was Harriet the Spy, solving local mysteries for my peers. Who am I kidding? I still do LOL.

I wish there were more dialogue and immediate scenes instead of narrative summary. If I read conversations and more interactions between characters instead of just hearing about it through one person’s account, then it would’ve felt like I was taking the journey with them instead of just being narrated to. The characters would’ve felt more real instead of just puzzle pieces.

However, I loved the fact that everything was laid out like clues. It gave me a chance to try and figure out the mystery alongside Dieter. It was a fun game to play.

Eric’s roommate, Jason, turned up dead in his science lab on campus. Right away, I thought someone had set up Eric. Then David, a student who also used the lab, became a main suspect. It seemed too good to be true, so I was happy that Dieter felt uneasy with how everything fit together too perfectly. I was happy that my gut was right. David ended up dead as well!

The story did a great job of listing the suspects and describing their motives for wanting those guys dead. The red herrings were so clever that I never guessed the right killer. I was fooled, so the ending was cool.

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

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