Writing Portfolio

Book Reviews

Murder Your Employer

Book Review

by Lauren Alise Schultz

Murder Your Employer is easily the best book I’ve read so far in 2024, and even before I had finished the first half, I had decided it was one of my all-time favorite novels. For so many reasons.

In short, every element of this novel is precisely fine-tuned. The author’s prose is both beautifully descriptive and often hilarious. Truly clever puns abound, and I laughed out loud dozens and dozens of times throughout. Yet the humor didn’t lessen Holmes’ poetic (but never overwrought) descriptions, the idyllic beauty of the McMasters Conservatory campus, or the details and descriptions of more gritty places and scenes.

The expert plotting of the novel is both detailed and twisty. There are three main plotlines in the novel, following three McMasters students who are aspiring murderers (or “deletists,” in McMasters parlance). Each plotline twists and turns, leaving the reader in suspense at several different points in the character’s narratives. So reading this book is a bit like reading an Agatha Christie novel on a rollercoaster. Or perhaps even more accurately, reading this book is a bit like reading three different Agatha Christie novels, all woven together, while on a rollercoaster.

Humanizing the tightly crafted plot mechanics, the characters are well-drawn, sympathetic, and strangely heartwarming in a novel filled with deletists (confirmed murderers) and aspiring deletists. Literally 90% of the characters in this novel have already killed at least one person or want to kill someone, but for a wide range of mostly forgivable reasons. McMasters is full of pragmatists who want to make the world a better place by “deleting” some despicable person, often someone who consistently victimizes others. By the end of the novel, the reader finds herself cheering on the aspiring deletists, hoping they are all able to successfully commit their planned murders. As I was reading, I realized that it takes a very skilled author to revise the standard reader’s morality like Holmes has done in Murder Your Employer. His heartwarming characters are a big part of that magic.

While I was making my way through the novel, I also did a little googling and discovered that the Edgar Award-winning author of this novel is the same Rupert Holmes who wrote The Piña Colada song. This fact really delighted me, as did the fact that Holmes also has multiple Tony Awards. His accolades cross mediums and genres. But by the time I finished the book, I no longer found any of this to be the least bit surprising. The novel was so skillfully written that to imagine Holmes as a multi-talented artist was no leap whatsoever.

I cannot stress enough how much I loved this novel. Sign me up to read Volume 2 as soon as it hits the shelves!

Additional note: I highly recommend the audiobook version of Murder Your Employer, which is read by Simon Vance (a favorite audiobook narrator of mine) and Neil Patrick Harris. Who doesn’t love Neil Patrick Harris?

Murder Your Employer
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Rupert Holmes
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