DM For Murder – Matt Bendoris
Ten million Twitter followers. One killer. Bryce Horrigan, a Brit made good in America, makes a living rubbing people up the wrong way. He revels in antagonising guests on his TV talk show, and the thousands of death threats he’s received on Twitter are a badge of honour. But when the controversial TV host is shot dead, it leaves the authorities with one hell of a dilemma. After all, where do you start investigating millions of suspects? Detective Sorrell has to separate the keyboard warriors from the real killer who begins tweeting cryptic clues. As the investigation and media storm build, Sorrell discovers a British journalist from Horrigan’s past may hold the key.
My thanks to Matt Bendoris for my review copy.
A murder mystery story for the Twitter generation.
Bryce Horrigan is a larger than life star on American TV. He is not afraid to speak his mind and has been revelling in the notoriety of controversy. He has been actively seeking Twitter death threats by speaking out on contentious issues – all good for ratings and his follower count. However it appears that he has finally gone one step too far as one evening Bryce’s Twitter account is used to Tweet images of his own murder. Millions of people see images from the moments leading up to his death and the police have a problem, how to find a killer when there are millions of potential suspects?
Meanwhile in Scotland Bryce’s friend and former colleague (Connor ‘Elvis’ Presley), is following the developing story. A reporter for one of Scotland’s national newspapers Elvis and his often-hapless colleague, April Lavender, are engaging in the constant battle to meet deadlines and source content in a bid to stop falling circulation figures. One of the highlights of DM For Murder is the dialogue between Elvis and April who often provide some comedic interludes, these scenes nicely break up the more serious chapters that featuring the official police investigation.
Elvis manages to convince the newspaper owners that he could cover the story of Horrigan’s murder much better if he was to travel to America and be ‘on the ground’ where he could use his connections to get close to those that knew Horrigan best. The story then splits as we have Elvis and in America and April in Scotland, each uncovering more detail of how Horrigan lived his life and who he left behind in his pursuit to the top. Their investigations run a very different path to that being followed by the police and it is great to see how Matt Bendoris portrays the different journalistic skills of Elvis and April.
Although the stars of the book (for me) are April and Elvis, we also follow the official police investigation headed up by Twitter ‘noob’ Detective Sorrell. With a high profile victim and no real leads Sorrell is under pressure to come up with visible results. Help comes from unexpected sources as Twitter users start their own witch-hunt of possible suspects. More importantly for Sorrell is one user who is reaching out to him directly – suggesting a Tweeter that may merit close investigation.
If you are comfortable with Twitter you will enjoy DM For Murder immensely, the concept of the murder Tweets is unsettling but you cannot help but feel that if such an event were to happen IRL (as it were) then the retweet count would go through the roof. If Twitter is not for you then do not despair, both Sorrell and April are new to the world of Twitter and through them the concept of Tweeting and Direct Messaging is explained so everyone can easily follow how the mystery is played out.
Fun, fast paced and a cracking whodunnit…this is my type of story. I thought I had solved the murder with around 80 pages to go but I was caught out by a red herring. Well played Mr Bendoris I liked this very much.
DM For Murder is published by Contraband and is available in paperback and digital format
Matt Bendoris is on Twitter (I assume he knows the risks): @MBendoris