Confessions of a Murder Suspect

Book review by
Mary Eisenhart, Common Sense Media
Confessions of a Murder Suspect Book Poster Image
Popular with kids
Teen must prove she didn't kill parents in taut thriller.

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 12 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Since all the Angel kids are intensively educated brainiacs, a lot of esoteric knowledge -- from the habits of pygmy sharks to banter in Latin -- pops up over the course of the book. This may inspire readers' further investigation.

Positive Messages

Put your differences aside, and work together as a team to get to the truth and solve the mystery at hand. Never stop seeking the truth, even if you might not like what you find, and even when the odds are stacked against you.

Positive Role Models & Representations

There's a lot of love and hate mixed together in the Angel family dynamic, as well as betrayal, but the siblings work together to solve the mystery. In dire circumstances, and burdened by the inability to remember crucial things about her own past thanks to her parents' mind control, Tandy remains steadfast in pursuing the truth, knowing it may not be to her liking. She also works hard to maintain her own integrity as she tries to understand her parents and their choices and the psychological train wrecks that resulted.


Little gore, but there are multiple violent deaths, including the ones that set the plot in motion. Descriptions, if any, come after the fact and with no gruesome detail. There's some other violence and fighting, including super-strong 10-year-old Hugo Angel whacking adult goons with a baseball bat.


A number of adult characters, including the murder victims, turn out to have had affairs. Some time before this story, Tandy fell in love with a young man and ran away with him, only to have him disappear and her parents do their best to wipe her memory of the whole incident.


Profanity includes "damn," "hell," etc.


Tandy distracts Hugo by sending him to buy Ding Dongs.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

One of Tandy's discoveries involves the nature of the pills that her parents have been giving all the kids -- and what they have to do with each Angel's extraordinary abilities.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that plenty of lurid family secrets come to light in Confessions of a Murder Suspect, the first volume of a teen mystery series by James Patterson with co-author Maxine Paetro, including affairs, corruption, people who disappear, and children used as science experiments. There are also several violent deaths, including those of wealthy Malcolm and Maud Angel, found poisoned in their New York apartment building. Their 15-year-old daughter, narrator Tandoori (Tandy), the prime suspect, sets out to find who really did the deed. There's some other violence and fighting, including super-strong 10-year-old Hugo Angel whacking adult goons with a baseball bat, and minor profanity ("damn," "hell").

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byMomOf2Kids132 March 16, 2021

Great Book!

I think this book is great! There are some things that little kids wont understand but probally for the better. There is some violence but I think this book is... Continue reading
Adult Written byRainewriter June 27, 2013

Good but ending stinked (Cliffhanger)

This book is perfect for the teenage reader! I literally read this book in a day it was that good. When I finished, to warn all of you, it ends like there might... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byMibs November 12, 2015

I love this book!!!!

I read this book when I was 10/11 and I absolutely loved it! It's super addicting and I really don't see why kids 11+ can't handle it. It's... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byMoonshadeblade October 20, 2013

Great Book!

Really good book, James Patterson is a great author and I enjoy many of his books, I'm 12 but I think this book is fine for any kids who will understand it... Continue reading

What's the story?

Fifteen-year-old Tandoori (Tandy) Angel is awakened in the wee hours by police banging on the door of her wealthy family's apartment at the Dakota, insisting that there's been a murder. When her parents, Malcolm and Maud, prove to have been poisoned in their bed, Tandy, her brothers, and her parents' assistant seem to be the only ones who could have done it, as they were the only people in the locked apartment. And, given the elder Angels' perfectionist, controlling parenting, it's not unreasonable to believe that one of the kids had finally had enough. Determined to find out who really killed her parents -- even if it's her brothers or even herself, as her memory isn't always the best -- Tandy investigates, in the process discovering a tangled web of long-buried secrets that may or may not point to the killer.

Is it any good?

This book's complex, clever plot keeps the pages turning as it wends its way to a surprising resolution and several cliffhangers. CONFESSIONS OF A MURDER SUSPECT sets up a series of detective novels featuring Tandy Angel -- and leaves plenty of loose ends to be addressed in sequels. As a narrator, super-smart, self-confident, and deeply conflicted Tandy is an intriguing character; the Angels' family life is over-the-top weird with its obsession with achievement, and some may find it hard to suspend disbelief or relate to its effects on the kids.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how it would be to have people like Malcolm and Maud for parents. Is there anything about the Angel kids' lives that makes you want to change places with them?

  • Why do you think the theme of giving kids drugs to enhance their abilities is so popular?

  • What still needs to be explained after the book ends, and do you think it will all come out in the sequel?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love mysteries and thrillers

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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