[Book Review] Sophomania by Danielle Zinn

Sophomania cover

When Detective Inspector Nathaniel Thomas is presented with an anonymous letter and three unexplained deaths in less than twenty-four hours, he realizes that his idyllic home village Crottendorf masks a turbulent reality. Summoning his trusted colleague, DS Ann Collins, Thomas begins to unravel what quickly becomes an overwhelming mountain of conflicting evidence.

So many secrets. So many lies. So many attempts to cover things up.

All is not as it first appears and it proves a lot harder to pin down the killer who prides himself on being more than one step ahead of the DI.

A deeply rooted family tragedy, greed and vengeance are at the core of this crime novel. The twists and turns of Sophomania leave you wondering to the very end who the real murderer is—or if there may actually be more than one killer on the loose in the anything-but-sleepy village of Crottendorf.

Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/3vCT7IF


My Review of Sophomania

Sophomania is a tightly-woven, gritty, and shocking murder mystery. The author also explores the childhood experiences of the DI who investigates the murders on a parallel track.

The title of the book–Sophomania–is unusual and striking. The connection between the title and the crime is made clear towards the end of the book. I think it’s an especially clever use of words to convey the gist of the book.

I’d describe the author’s writing style as crisp, neat, and detail-oriented. The emotional and philosophical sections of the story flow seamlessly with the action scenes. The pacing is perfect; never does it get too slow or boring.

I’m amazed at the author’s ability to write detailed yet engaging descriptions — of people, of inanimate objects, of emotions. Usually, I’m impatient to know what’s going to happen next so I skip such wordy paragraphs. But Sophomania has the perfect balance between giving information and offering a word treat for readers.

When I read crime novels, I try to put myself in the investigator’s shoes and use the clues offered by the author to see if I can solve the mystery. I was happy to find that, on a few occasions, I could guess what DI Thomas was going to do next. In this context, I would say that the story is slightly predictable.

The author is adept at planting red herrings in the form of side stories that may or may not have a bearing on the main story. Just like DI Thomas at one point, I felt my head would burst if I tried to make sense of the complicated web of suspects, motives, opportunities, and false trails.

But I wasn’t prepared for the way the story ended. It was one shock after the other, right down to the last line of the book.

I have to confess that the answer to the mystery disappointed me because I had been hoping for something more exciting, given the high drama in the second half. Instead, it turned out to be too realistic; something that would happen in real life.

As the blurb says, it boils down to greed and a desire for vengeance. I would even go so far as to call the motives of the murderer vulgar.

Sophomania is certainly something that crime fans should read because they will enjoy the bleakness of the plot. But regular readers of the genre might be able to guess the identity of the murderer despite the intricate web of clues and red herrings the author weaves through the story.

(I received an e-book from Rachel’s Random Resources with a request for an honest review.)


About Danielle

Danielle Zinn

Danielle Zinn is a German author, born and raised in a small village in the Ore Mountains/Germany where not only her debut crime novel Snow Light is set but also her second book, Sophomania.

She holds a BA (Hons) degree in Business and Management from New College Durham/UK and has settled down in Leipzig/Germany where she works as a Financial Controller at an IT Consultancy.

She was introduced to the world of English literature and writing from an early age on through her mother – an English teacher. Over the last years, she circumnavigated the globe and loves visiting her friends scattered all over the world.

Social Media Links –

Twitter: @DanielleZinn4             https://twitter.com/daniellezinn4

Facebook: Danielle.zinn.7           https://www.facebook.com/danielle.zinn.7


Sophomania blog tour schedule

(This post is also part of Blogchatter Half Marathon Aug ’21.)

One thought on “[Book Review] Sophomania by Danielle Zinn

  1. This sounds really exciting. I have also seen that sometimes when I can guess the end (culprit, MO), then I am disappointed. Good review, I will try and pick up a copy.

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