This is a weird book from Christopher Pike.
First published in 1992, Master of Murder tells the story of Marvin. Marvin is 18 and he seems like just your average high school student. He’s still in love with his ex-girlfriend, Shelly. He’s haunted by the mysterious death of Harry, who was Marvin’s best friend but who was also dating Shelly at the same time that Marvin was. Marvin also takes care of his younger sister because, as was typical of YA books like this, their parents aren’t in the picture. Obviously, if there were parents in these books, the adults would always want to call the police or solve the mysteries themselves. Pike’s response was usually to either kill them, divorce them, or turn them into drunks.
Anyway, back to Marvin. In the year since Harry’s death, Marvin has been leading a secret life. He writes YA novels! In fact, they’re the most successful YA novels ever! He’s published five of them, all about a dead girl named Ann. (Wait a minute …. that’s also his sister’s name! Ewwww and Agck!) From what I know about the publishing industry, none of this seems plausible but we’ll just go with it. I mean, of course, Marvin is a high school senior who secretly writes best sellers and who regularly gets explicit fan mail from his teenage readers. That makes purrrr-fect sense, as my cat would put it.
Anyway, Shelly asks Marvin to help her figure out who was responsible for death of Harry. She might even date him again if he helps her out! Plus, Marvin is getting mysterious letters from someone who writes, “I know who you are!” Could the two events be connected? Of course, they are! And yes, Shelly has a secret of her own.
There’s no supernatural or intergalactic monsters in this Christopher Pike novel. Instead, it’s a straight-forward murder mystery. To be honest, when compared to other Pike books, it’s kind of bland. The most interesting way to read it is as a sort of wish fulfilment for Pike. One gets the feeling that, at the time that he wrote this book, he wished he was Marvin, a teenager who gets to live like he’s Christopher Pike. As I said, it’s a weird book, one that makes it look as if the only thing simpler than solving a murder is writing a best seller when you’re 18. If only it were true, there would be a lot more bestsellers and a lot more prison overcrowding. Oh well!