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A Twisted Scavenger Hunt: A Review of “Mortom” by Erik Therme

Goodreads.com Description: “Andy Crowl barely knew his recently deceased cousin, Craig Moore, so he’s especially surprised to be named as the sole beneficiary in Craig’s will. Not that there’s much to inherit: just an empty bank account and a run-down house. Once Andy arrives in the town of Mortom, however, he’s drawn into his puzzle-obsessed cousin’s true legacy: a twisted and ominous treasure hunt. Beckoned by macabre clues of dead rats and cemetery keys, Andy jumps into the game, hoping to discover untold wealth. But unsavory secrets—and unanswered questions about Craig’s untimely demise—arise at every turn, leading Andy to wonder if he’s playing the game…or if the game is playing him. Something’s rotten in Mortom. And this dead man’s game might not be all that Andy is doomed to lose.”

I received an ecopy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

My Thoughts:

Just how far would you go to unearth clues in a scavenger hunt? That’s the prevailing question in Erik Therme’s Mortom. I thoroughly enjoyed this debut novel. It was well-written with clearly developed characters.

The plot was intriguing and had me captivated from page one. Therme’s book revolved around three main living characters and one deceased. Even the dead character was interesting. All of the characters were well-defined and is easily understood. Andy was the obsessive-compulsive type who wouldn’t let anything stop him. Kate, his sister, was a peacemaker. She didn’t want to upset anyone and took it upon herself to constantly make amends. Craig, the deceased, was a misunderstood wannabe master mind. He had a very large chip on his shoulder, and there wasn’t anything anyone could do to remove it. Mary, the crotchety aunt, hoarded objects and secrets. I loved these characters and their personalities.

Therme provided surprise throughout the story right up to the end. I got a little worried when Andy discovered the rat. I was wondering if the rat was a symptom of a bigger issue (maybe a house of dead bodies). I’m glad my concern was for nothing. I enjoyed deciphering the clues right along with Andy.

Mortom did not have a cliffhanger ending, and there wasn’t an obvious hint of a sequel. I was left wondering what was next for Andy. He didn’t seem the type to just let the story end the way it did. But, for everyone else in the book, the story ran a successful course.

Good job Erik Therme! I highly recommend this debut novel to anyone who likes to read suspense. I look forward to reading more from him.

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