Review: In the Hall with the Knife

Hey bookworms! I was thinking of what other spooky posts I could do this week and I completely forgot I had to write a review! I thought I had done this already but I guess not. Anyway, I was given a copy of In the Hall with the Knife by Diana Peterfreund by Abrams Books in exchange for my honest review.  


Title: In the Hall with the Knife 

Author: Diana Peterfreund 

Rating: ★★★✩✩ (3/5)  

Publication Date: Oct. 8, 2019 

Description (From Goodreads):  

“When a storm strikes Blackbrook Academy, an elite prep school nestled in the woods of Maine, a motley crew of students –including Beth “Peacock” Picach, Orchid McKee, Vaugh Green, Sam “Mustard” Maestor, Fin Plum, and Scarlet Mistry– are left stranded on campus with their headmaster. Hours later, his body is found in the conservatory and it’s very clear his death was no accident. With this group of students who are all hiding something, nothing is as it seems, and everyone has a motive for murder.”  

To start off, this is a the first book in the CLUE trilogy which is based off of the board game and the movie (which I didn’t know a  movie existed). The premise was enough to get me to want to read this even though I have never played the game or seen the movie; however, I have seen people say that there are lots of movie references (take that as you will). To me it was very promising, it had all the clichés of a murder-mystery: the elite rich kid school on a hill (?) far from the only nearby village, a huge storm with lots of flooding, murder, rich kids with secrets, the scholarship kid that doesn’t fit in, the new kid, etc. I thought I was in for a treat. At first, it was a bit difficult to get into and I’m not sure if that was due to the writing or if it had to do with me being burned out from school, but once I did I couldn’t put it down.  

As I look back and review it more critically, I notice a few things. To start off, something that was “in your face” kind of thing were the names. The names, as I found out, were pretty much the same as the movie however, there are also other random characters that I felt were just thrown in there; they’re not even mentioned in the description like the others. Another thing was that all of the characters go by different names and it got confusing at some point trying to figure out all the possible names they could be called. On top of that, having 6 points of view was not helping at all. Yes, multiple POVs could be fun but there has to be a limit before it gets confusing – that could just be me though. Nonetheless, the pacing was decent; it wasn’t too fast or too slow.  

Slight spoiler, but I do have to say that the killer was quite obvious around the halfway mark in the book. It would have been better if they got a little more creative with the actual killer. To add on, some of these rich kids have some secret they’re hiding but it’s never fully addressed. For example, Orchid is running from someone (not a full spoiler but kind of) but they never fully explain why or what happened. They just state the very basics which was quite unsatisfying because I had hoped they’d go more in depth to that.  

To wrap up, I thought there would have been more murders involved, but no just one (as sinister as that makes me sound). The cliffhanger did throw me off while reading and at first felt shoved in, but now that I look back I notice the signs were all there.  

I would say that if you don’t know the game or movie, you might enjoy this, but if you’re a fan of either, it might not be so great. This might sound bad, but as long as you don’t think about it too much, the book is good/okay, but the more you think about it the more you notice small things that don’t add up. Personally, I don’t think I would continue with this series. I did like some of it but it wasn’t enough to really pull me in.  

Just a disclaimer, these are all my opinions about this book. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions and I’m not here to discourage anyone who may have wanted to read it.  

Stay spooky and until next time! 

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