28 December 2015

Review: The Fruitcake Murders by Ace Collins

Bad. Really bad.

It’s the holidays in New Zealand, so I’m taking the opportunity to ‘bury’ reviews of books I didn’t finish or didn’t enjoy.

The Fruitcake Murders started with a Christmas 1926 murder in Chicago, then skipped forward to December 1946 and another murder. I’m guessing the two were related, but I didn’t get that far. The first murder (the Prologue) was mostly told, as there was only one person in the scene until the end.

The second murder was overshadowed by “witty” banter between Lane Walker, a detective, and reporter Tiffany Clayton. The dialogue was torturous, and the dialogue tags made it unbearable. Here’s an example:
“I’m guessing it is murder,” she sadly observed as she pulled a pad and pen from her purse.
“Your observations were always brilliant,” he cracked,
“Not much to it,” she noted, “you’re from homicide.”
There was a note at the beginning of the book that this is an advance reader copy “which has not been edited or proofread”. That accounts for the comma after “cracked”, but it’s no excuse for having “noted” three times in two pages, or for the completely distracting dialogue tags (most of which were inappropriate, like using “explained” when the character wasn’t actually explaining anything. That's plain old bad writing. Or possibly mansplaining).

There might be a good murder mystery hiding here, but I found the writing too distracting to motivate me to persevere.

Thanks (?) to Abingdon Press and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.


  1. I loved the title; considered it intriguing. Thank you for the insight and the additional writer's advice. I'll have to watch my tags and excessive wordage.

    1. Creative dialogue tags are a pet issue of mine!

  2. Sorry you didn't like this one. I haven't read it, but Ace Collins is a favorite author of mine.

    1. I've only read one other Ace Collins book, which I got from the library, and I don't actually remember whether I liked it or not.

      I do know this publisher is disestablishing their fiction line, and wonder if that may have had an impact.