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Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite
Dr. Altman and The Concubines by Jacqueline Shortell-McSweeney is a whodunnit sleuth mystery novel set in the 80s. After losing her job in a detective agency, thirty-two-year-old Sigourney Madigan (Sig) becomes a freelance private investigator who gets her first case when her friend Willa introduces her to Jessica Palmer, a psychotherapist. Jessica wants Sig to root out the blackmailer who possesses an intimate tape of Jessica and her mentor Dr. Pierre Altman. Posing as the new video coordinator, Sig infiltrates the Center for Rational Therapy and quickly discovers that Dr. Altman's philandering ways had made him quite the nuisance for many potential enemies. However, after Altman's brutal murder, things take a sinister turn, and Sig finds herself conflicted over trying to do her job and what she feels is the right thing to do.
A gripping sleuth mystery that truly subverts your expectations every step of the way, Dr. Altman and The Concubines hooks you in from the first page and refuses to let go until the end. Author Jacqueline Shortell-McSweeney puts a unique twist on the whodunnit genre and keeps you on the edge of your seat with unexpected turns that you never see coming. Despite the plot-driven nature of sleuth stories, Shortell-McSweeney's narrative feels very much character-driven. Each character is fleshed out, with distinct personalities and motives that make for some realistic conflicts you simply can't get enough of. I was most impressed by the nonchalant humor in the dialogue and found the climax thoroughly unexpected yet immensely satisfying. Highly recommended.