Thursday, September 02, 2010

Master of Murder by Christopher Pike (1992)

You may have heard of a certain bestselling author of young adult thrillers who goes by the name of Christopher Pike. That is, of course, a pseudonym, and little is known about Pike who keeps his private life very private and never does publicity or publishes author photos.

This might remind you of a character in Pike's 1992 novel Master of Murder: Marvin Summer is a 17-year-old high school student. But he is also the author of the Mack Slate novels -- a bestselling series of young adult thrillers which he writes under a pseudonym -- and no one in his town, not even his parents, suspects a thing. The reason he is still in high school and not living the high life with his millions of dollars is that both his parents are alcoholics and he is afraid that his dad will take all his money if he finds out how rich he is before his 18th birthday. This, of course, makes perfect sense.

Marvin may be a successful author and rich young man, but he has not been lucky in love. His relationship with the girl of his dreams, Shelly, was cut short when another boy she was seeing, Harry was found dead in the lake outside of town a year ago. Everyone says he committed suicide, but Shelly is sure he was murdered, and she wants Marvin to find out who did it. Meanwhile, Marvin has gotten a series of letters in his PO Box from someone who knows who he is, and that are postmarked from his hometown (this is not really a surprise since his fan mail is forwarded to "Mack Slate" at that address since his agent doesn't know his real name).

There are some definite rocky patches in this one, and the reader has to suspend quite a bit of disbelief, but overall the book is a fun read, and Pike seems to be having fun writing about writing. In fact, he even seems to understand his own overemphasis on descriptions of his character's hair:

Shelly had hair and she had skin -- both lovely. (p.3)

The book also features a character named Triad, which is possibly the best high school football jock name I have ever heard.

[And if you don't want to read the book, but want all the plot details, check out the nice summary here.]


Joolie said...

I just spent a very pleasant 15 minutes with that chick's Sweet Valley High summaries. There sure are a lot of them.

Corie said...

The question is - did he solve the murder?

I'm going to draw on past Pike knowledge and answer for myself - of course.