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Review of 'Hokey Pokey' - by Kate Mascarenhas

Not your standard murder mystery!

The book opens with a sumptuous description of the hotel - it takes the reader straight into the setting, following Nora as she moves through the building and it sounds exquisite - Art Deco opulence at its finest. The style reminded me a little of the opening to programmes like Downton Abbey, where the camera follows someone through a building, picking up all the little details that identify the set as that of a period drama.

From the blurb and the front cover, I'd been expecting a straightforward crime novel, something that lay somewhere between cosy and proper crime but with a 1920s twist, perhaps akin to an Agatha Christie whodunnit, but perhaps a little darker in tone. However, it quickly became apparent that this book was anything but that! It was much more supernatural in tone and became extremely dark in places. I think the supernatural element may put some readers off, as it isn't mentioned specifically in the blurb, however, I loved it because it's what gives the book its unique character. It's a very unusual concept, but it's utterly compelling and it is this which leaves the reader never quite sure where they are and what's going on. In this instance, this is a good thing because it keeps them engaged and reading on in an attempt to find out what on earth is going on.

Reading the book is an experience in itself - just when you think you have a handle on it, something happens to throw you off balance again. Slowly the disparate elements begin to come together to form a cohesive story and as the pieces fall into place, it all begins to make a horrible sort of sense. Bordering on the macabre in places, this is not a book for the faint-hearted, but if you have the stomach for it, it's well worth a read. It defied every pre-conception I had about it and I absolutely loved it. At times it left me shaking my head, feeling a little nauseous and none of the characters are particularly likeable, but there's something about the whole package that is magical and the ending left me anxious for their future in so many ways.

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