Testimonials & Reviews
"It's said that opposites attract, and in Worse Than Murder, there's an attraction by the characters and for the characters in this unconventional murder mystery. Weaving elements of the supernatural and the growing affections of Carver and Alicia, Wechselblatt crafts a compelling read that concludes on a note of "This isn't the end." The dual points-of-view by the detective and his inadvertent sidekick/psychic keep the plot flavorful and nicely paced. The story is tidy, different than normal, and has the perfect last line."
Jennifer M. Fulford
Author of The Book of Ulie
"John Carter is a homicide detective who tends to see the world in black and white. That all changes when a psychic claims to have knowledge of a young woman’s body found floating in a rooftop water tank on a seedy hotel. While Carter wants to dismiss the psychic’s claims, she seems to have remarkable insight into the case, one which now involves his own daughter, the same age as the girl in the water tank. Somewhat similar to both a real mystery and a Japanese horror movie, this book is s spooky and compelling read."
“A resonant tale of mystery. Engaging, sturdy, and suspenseful. Wechselblatt artfully layers the story with uncertainty while the compelling adventure is all captured through the vision of a clairvoyant.”
Author, Retired Detective
'Inspired by the murder of Elisa Lam by the Original Night Stalker, Wechselblatt leaves readers on the edge of their seat with the paranormal mystery novel.
Any fan of true crime, fantasy, or classic thrillers will not be able to put this novel down. The alternating points of view take us deep into the minds of detective Carver, Alicia the psychic, and even Richard Ramirez and the demon he summons.
I absolutely loved this one and only gave it four stars because I was at times confused. Sometimes I think I just don’t have the brain capacity to follow along with fantasy novels, but this one at least kept me engaged and working to understand. I recommend this whole heartedly.
Thanks you to Barringer Publications and Netgalley for gifting me an advanced readers copy of this book in return for my honest review."
"Worse Than Murder is a literary murder mystery that departs from the usual formula writing approach to add metaphysical elements and psychological questions into the task of solving a murder.
Homicide detective John Carver is no newcomer to the force. He's a seasoned investigator who thinks he's seen about every kind of murder, over the years. Until now. His latest case not only leads him to reconsider his perceptions, motivations, and logic, but reaches out to involve his daughter in a dangerous game.
As the story unfolds, Stephen Wechselblatt uses changing viewpoints (clearly identified in chapter headings) to add a multifaceted flavor to the dilemmas that evolve.
The tale opens from the first-person story of psychic Alicia Flores, who experiences a particularly grisly vision of the death of young woman Betsy Lamb. Such abilities come with a heavy price tag: "This was the price I paid for my gift, watching tragedy unfold...I alone bore the awful gift of knowledge. I alone carried the burden of being too late—unable to protect the innocent."
In contrast to Alicia's emotional response and quandaries is Carver's staid approach to murders and perps: "There was nothing at all like working a murder."
Their very different approaches, attitudes, and experiences as this case presents a series of dilemmas like no other makes for an especially intriguing juxtaposition of crazy-making quandaries. These pit a pragmatic investigator's stark worldview ("...spirits didn’t exist, and Alicia was nuts.") with a streetwise, savvy woman's unusual connection to another realm.
Carver's role as a concerned father also enters the picture to change his focus, motivation, and views: "Empathy as a father outpaced expertise as a cop."
Worse Than Murder thus unfolds on many levels, embracing readers with more than just a whodunit approach alone.
Its ability to craft a picture-in-picture view of two individuals challenged and changed by a special brand of evil in a murder mystery that is unpredictable in its twists and turns creates a story both hard to put down and much more thought-provoking than most.
Worse Than Murder is highly recommended both for mystery collections and for discussion groups. Readers will welcome a murder mystery that dives into uncharted waters with an especially thought-provoking approach."
Diane Donavan, Senior Reviewer
Midwest Book Review
An Off-beat and Intruiging Mystery
Reviewed in the United States on April 20, 2022
"Worse than Murder" is a book that made me think about it for quite a while after I finished reading it. The story, told by two different narrators' points of view doesn't just describe a crime and police methods to solve it, but includes a psychic whose relation to the victims, the police and the very frightening perpetrator are an investigation of the relationship between rational and spiritual realities. The main characters are very vivid and the way they are handled made me feel as though I were inside the heads and hearts of both of them, despite their very different views of the world. The villain and minor characters are vividly drawn and capture both the beauty and ugliness of a big city. Read this book and enjoy pondering the questions it asks."
Reviewed in the United States on April 7, 2022
"I found this novel to tell an engaging and inventive story and to be very well written. The dialog and location descriptions bring the reader into the story almost as a witness as events unfold. I like the short chapters -- they give the reader ample places to put the book down and continue later without losing the flow of the story. An enjoyable read. Looking forward to the author's next offering!"
5.0 out of 5 stars Fresh but riveting approach to mystery
Reviewed in the United States on April 16, 2022
"The author deftly bends the mystery genre to include two main characters with very different perspectives on this murder (and others). The switch between cop and clairvoyant -- neatly handled through short chapters -- builds your insight into each character while continually turning the mystery prism around for you. Masterful plotting and writing -- keeps you locked into the story."