It’s only right that parents want their children to excel. But is it fair to force a child to perform like another Bach, Beethoven or Chopin? What about shaping a young prodigy’s artistic skills to the point where his parents and art critics refer to him as another Leonardo da Vinci? What about the teenager who remains steadfast and determined to block out emotions?
Who wants their children to be perfect? Malcolm and Maud Angel sure do.
They are strict and seemingly loveless parents expertly portrayed in the exhilarating and suspenseful novel, “Confessions of a Murder Suspect,” by duo James Patterson and Maxine Paetro.
Who is on the top of the list of prime suspects?
Who could be guilty of murdering the Angel couple? Why, the Angel children, of course. Enter detectives Capricorn Caputo and Ryan Hayes of the New York Police Department.
They receive a call informing them of the death of the Angel parents.
The couple is discovered dead in the bed of their master suite in the famous high-security Dakota penthouse.
It is the location where years before Beatle John Lennon was gunned down, actor Gig Young killed his wife, himself and a slew of additional and unfortunate murders took place.
The Angel children, Tandy, the intelligent teenager who narrates the story; Harry, her fraternal twin; Hugo, a young concert pianist; big brother
Matthew, football hero; and eldest sister Katherine, who was killed in a motorcycle-vehicular accident are all shocked about the murder of their parents.
However, throughout their lives they were not always fond of them.
Tandy, with her extreme detective skills, runs circles around Caputo and Hayes. She senses that someone in their penthouse apartment did kill their parents.
Tandy even begins to think that perhaps she is guilty of murder.
No one else possessed a key to their high security apartment, which is furnished with a lavish art collection and other valuables that were not stolen.
The kids appear to be the only ones at home at the time of the murder.
It’s a real circus atmosphere as Tandy, her siblings and the detectives sort out the mystery.
Readers quickly discover that no one in the Angel family is normal.
Malcolm and Maud had their own unique methods of conditioning their children by giving them color-coded pills that their father told them were super multi-vitamins. Malcolm had been tied up with Angel Pharmaceuticals and his children eventually will discover that they had been used as laboratory experiments from their early years to the present.
Would it be strange at this point for readers to suspect child abuse?
Tandy, the central figure, is so suspicious of herself that readers are drawn repetitively to the question on the book’s cover “Does this girl look like a murderer to you?”
I must confess, this novel got my attention in more ways than one. It is divided into two major sections “Murder in the House of Angels” and “Love in the House of Angels,” combined with Tandy’s occasional confessions offered in journal format to her supposedly trusting “dear friends,” her readers.
Even the family psychologist portrayed in the novel seems bent on carrying out the Angels’ parenting skills by coaching them on how to gain self-control by using less emotion and more of their intellectual powers.
To me, that’s a scary thought.
Children need to feel comfortable in developing their own identity and should not be ashamed of making mistakes.
Not only is “Confessions…” a murder mystery, it represents the killing and resurrection of an odd new breed of brave children.
Carol Wright is a former Manhattan resident.