Dr. Altman and The Concubines

Fiction - Mystery - Murder
213 Pages
Reviewed on 03/02/2022
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Author Biography

Jacqueline Shortell-McSweeney writes only when inspired, or when her Muse, Noreen, stands over her with a metaphorical rolling pin. At other times, she has worked as a producer for Women Make Movies (Where WHY WOMEN STAY was produced and directed.), a video artist at Henry St., Settlement, first union woman grip on the East Coast, and then, as a lawyer, in hopes she could sue some of those responsible for her Me-Too moments in the union. Finally, as an attorney for Women's Venture Fund, Ms. Shortell-McSweeney worked with women entrepreneurs to help build their businesses. Now retired to her writing desk, Shortell-McSweeney has been published in eight anthologies, the latest being BEAT GENERATION. Her detective story, DR. ALTMAN AND THE CONCUBINES, is recently published and in bookstores. Now, The Muse wants to see her continue with her poetry and thriller, THE PLAYGIRL MURDERS. Most important, she is to spend precious time with her loving family.

    Book Review

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.