A Line to Kill: A Novel (A Hawthorne and Horowitz Mystery Book 3) by Anthony Horowitz

Reviewed by Dianne Woodman

In A Line to Kill, the author depicts himself as a fictional character in a murder mystery that will keep you riveted until the last page. Novelist Anthony Horowitz is the penman for stories featuring Private Detective Daniel Hawthorne. They work together as a team on criminal investigations. The relationship between Horowitz and Hawthorne is similar in many ways to how Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson interact with each other.

Horowitz and Hawthorne are participants in a summer literary festival taking place on the island of Alderney, which is situated on the English Channel. A diverse group of writers attends the festivities. The heinous murder of the man whose company sponsored the festival embroils Horowitz and Hawthorne in an independent investigation authorized by the law enforcement officer in charge of the case. They discover that the victim’s personality traits tend to rub people the wrong way, which leads to many viable suspects. The disappearance of a close relation to the victim adds to the urgency of solving the case. Will the person who is missing be found alive or dead? Will the killer(s) be arrested or elude the police?

A Line to Kill is the third book in a series spotlighting the dynamics between a professional writer and a private investigator who are collaborating on crime fiction novels. Hawthorne spearheads the investigations, while Horowitz takes on the role of sidekick. All the characters play convincing and authentic roles and help move the story along. The skillful use of descriptive details allows readers to create vivid pictures of the physical world and characters in their minds. A hand-drawn map makes the setting more real. Well-placed false clues keep you trying to guess the culprit(s) until the final reveal.

Horowitz maintains suspense throughout this compelling mystery. The novel encompasses challenging crimes to unravel, ups and downs in business and personal relationships, blackmail, deception, a claim of psychic abilities, division among the townspeople about a power line installation, and closely guarded secrets. The story is told through the eyes of Horowitz. This viewpoint allows readers to sit in Horowitz’s head and be privy to his perceptions of Hawthorne and other characters while fulfilling writing commitments and assisting in a criminal inquiry. The scant amount of profanity used by the author suits the characters. You do not need to read the first two books in the series to enjoy the adventures of Horowitz and Hawthorne. However, anyone who wants to learn more about previous undertakings will want to read the entire series.