Monday, October 7, 2013

My take on: Almost True Confessions

An amateur sleuth with a knack for spotting grammatical errors? It might sound strange, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading about copy editor Miranda "Rannie" Bookman and her adventures in Almost True Confessions by Jane O'Connor.

This is the second in a series, but I don't think you need to read the first book to understand this one. Why did I enjoy the book? As a former newspaper copy editor and as someone trying to get into book publishing, I totally get her humor. If I see a mistake in a newspaper article or book, I just want to fix it. I'm sure I've made plenty of grammar mistakes on this blog, but I do my best to limit them. In the book, Rannie cringes at the sight or sound of improper grammar. All I could do was laugh. Like all copy editors, she has her quirks. She only works with a certain kind of pencil. She also has a deep addiction to peanut butter and jelly!!

Rannie is just a single mother trying to scrape by as a freelance copy editor. She used to rub elbows with all the top editors and authors at publishing house Simon & Schuster. A BIG-TIME error on the cover of an anniversary edition of the Nancy Drew classic The Secret of the Old Clock, led to Rannie's downfall. Just imagine the word "clock" without the "l." It's not the best word to have on a children's classic! But Ellen Donahoe, an editor at Simon & Schuster, is still on Rannie's side. They're good friends. Ellen also supplies Rannie with a steady diet of freelance work. Rannie's latest assignment is to edit the manuscript of the reclusive Ret Sullivan, an author known for her high-profile biographies. Ret was horribly disfigured after Mike Bellettra, an actor and the subject of one of her biographies, attacked her. One hundred-year-old, socialite, and philanthropist Charlotte Cummings is the latest target of Ret's prose.

Before Rannie can even get started, Ret is murdered. Is it just a coincidence? Is there something hidden in the manuscript? Another murder shortly after Ret's is just too much for Rannie. The second victim was very close to Rannie. She can't stay out of the investigation. Her boyfriend, Tim, also a former cop, warns Rannie at every turn to stay out of it. She's a copy editor, not a detective. I felt like the murders were secondary. The real action, charm, and intrigue is within Rannie's own life. Her daughter, Alice, is away at college and her son, Nate, is almost out of the house. Tim is the steady voice of reason. Her mother-in-law, Mary, provides plenty of comic relief with her gaggle of semi-intoxicated, rich friends. Rannie's mother, Harriet, is in town after a horrible but funny experience with online dating.

Can a copy editor truly double as an amateur sleuth? In real life, I don't think so. But I was engrossed in this fictional world. I don't think Rannie set out to uncover a murder plot. She keeps getting pulled back in. The clues present themselves at odd times and places. A suspect is offered up pretty quickly, but I had my doubts about that person. It seemed a little too easy and too convenient. I was disappointed in the ending. It felt a little abrupt. Everything gets wrapped up in just a few pages. I'm not always a fan of that. Overall, it's a light and easy read. I could see myself reading another book in the series.

Rating: Give it a try

Note: I received a copy of the book from the publisher (HarperCollins) as part of a blog tour with TLC Book Tours


  1. I'm glad to see that you'd enjoy another book in this series even though there were some things that didn't quite work for you in this one. Thanks for being on the tour!

  2. I always love mysteries, so I knew there would something I like with this book.