Sleuth Kings Case 006 Review

If you are looking for my complete walkthrough with hints and solutions, click here! If not, please continue to the review.

Rating: 4/5

Subscription Description

Sleuth Kings is a monthly subscription that delivers fictional detective stories to your door. The premise for each case is that you have been contacted by Detective Sullivan King about a recent case that he has been hired for in which he needs your help. Each month you receive a manila envelope that contains:

  • Instructions on where to go to begin email interactions with Sullivan regarding the case
  • A list of the cases contents (so that you can check that you’ve received everything)
  • A case overview written by Sullivan
  • Approximately 4 clues (there is also a list describing the clues that you can read to help you get started or choose to ignore for an extra challenge)
  • Some additional material/props

Each case is its own story so unlike certain mystery subscriptions (like Hunt A Killer), you can solve the entire case in one sitting. I am told that every 4 cases you receive a bonus case about finding Sullivan’s missing father. (So far I have not received this but I have received several bonus emails regarding his father.)

Case 006: The Show Must Go On (Premise)

Sullivan is contacted by Eva Verde, who is putting on a play about a few kids who go to a cabin in the woods and accidentally conjure the spirit of a violent ghost named Smilin’ Jack.

The reason Eva has asked Sullivan for help is that her cast and crew are threatening to quit the show because they believe that the set is being haunted by the real Smilin’ Jack. Several props, posters, and photos have been defaced and threats have been made via letters and mysterious voices.

Eva (and Sullivan) do not believe the set is haunted and need your help in finding out who is behind the sabotage.

Review (No Spoilers)

I have done several Sleuth King cases with my partner (see other reviews) and this was probably the hardest one so far. My partner and I can normally solve these cases in 1 hour without referring to the Clue Sheet. For this case, we ended up using the Clue Sheet more than once and it took us an extra half hour.

One of the things that I had wanted for Case 004 was more of a challenge so it was a pleasant surprise that this one was harder. Unfortunately we hadn’t prepared for this so we although we were both pretty tired, we opened the case around 11:11PM (make a wish!) expecting to go to sleep at midnight. In reality, we ended up going to sleep around 1AM.

I enjoyed this case and its challenge, even if it made me very sleepy. The only complaint I have about it was that one of the clues required us to stare at a bunch of letters and perform a particularly annoying guess and check to get a password. As far as I know there was no better method of doing this.

Oh, I also almost forgot that there is a typo on the defaced script (Clue 3). At some point it should say STACY but it says ABBY. This didn’t effect anything other than our ability to understand what was happening in the scene.

I do have to say though. I was laughing throughout the entire case over the phrase “Fried Emo Vegans”. It still gets to me.

Stay tuned for more reviews of Sleuth Kings!

Sleuth Kings Case 006 Detailed Solutions/Hints

Note: Sleuth Kings is discontinuing this case as soon as the current supply runs out. If you are unable to purchase it from them, the only way to get it would be secondhand.

The following information is organized by clue item/puzzle. Any items not listed were simply props. Some people have complained online about Sullivan giving away too much when you ask him for a hint. I have tried to create multiple hints for how to solve each puzzle. I hope that this can provide a better experience for fellow Sleuth King subscribers.

At the end of each puzzle section will be the complete “solution”. If anyone found any additional information (or think my conclusions are wrong) from these clues, please comment and let me know!

I have ordered it in the way that I think is the most enjoyable order of going through each puzzle. Sullivan suggests going through the clues in order so I will start with Clue 1. At the very end I will summarize the entire story of the case as best as I can.

Important disclaimer: I will NOT be posting any pictures of the items that are in this case. If you want to experience this case, you must subscribe to Sleuth Kings.

Clue 1: Smilin’ Jack’s Letter (First Puzzle)

Clue Background

The cast agrees that the haunting of Smilin’ Jack began with this letter from him left at the theater. It seems to have two different codes that need to be cracked. I’ll admit that in order to solve this clue, my partner and I had to look at the Clue Analysis paper.

Hint 1

You can totally ignore the actual message that the letter has written, it doesn’t help you in solving the puzzles. As far as I know the shapes to the left of the first puzzle mean nothing as well.

Hint 2

The checks indicate that the letter is in the correct space. The X’s indicate that the letters (and spaces) in that column have to be rearranged. Here is what it looks like with the check marked columns in place. Note that words continue to the next row unless there is a blank.

Ultimate Hint

Here is what it looks like with the blanks in place for every column and the question mark.

Solution

Once you place all of the letters the message reads:

Not ready to die? Find the poster’s nine hidden words to read the code.

Clue 2: Ruined Poster

Clue Background

Eva created promotional posters to advertise her show. She found that a bunch of them were vandalized and covered in nonsensical phrases.

Hint 1

If you haven’t done the first puzzle in Clue 1 yet, do that.

Hint 2

The phrases themselves are hilarious but also nonsense. You’ll need to only read part of each phrase.

Ultimate Hint

I suggest writing down the phrases without the spaces and trying to find any word that can be made with a portion of the letters (do not reorder any of the letters). Eventually you should be able to get a phrase.

Solution

Here is the message from the poster:

Code: Move all forward one and use the program.

Clue 1: Smilin’ Jack’s Letter (Second Puzzle)

Hint 1

If you haven’t done Clue 2 yet, do that.

Hint 2

Clue 2 says to move all forward one. Move all letters forward one in the alphabet (Z goes to A). Move all numbers forward 1 numerically as well.

Hint 3

Once you move the title of the table properly, it should read “Songs Page”. Open the program to the Songs page. Can you figure out what the code is referring to on this page?

Ultimate Hint

DN stands for Director’s Note. A stands for Act. L stands for Line. W stands for Word. Use these to find the words that corresponds to each cell.

Solution

Once you find the corresponding words the message should read:

Can you feel the heat from my gaze? Try adding your own.

Clue 3: Defaced Script

Clue Background

One of the lead actresses in the show, Sam Miller, found her script open to this page with . a giant smiling face drawn across it.

Hint 1

You may notice that you can see some words through the smiling face. Can you make it out?

Hint 2

If you haven’t solved Clue 1’s second puzzle do that.

Ultimate Hint

You’ll need to literally apply Clue 1’s second message to this clue. We used a candle to do the job.

Solution

Once you apply heat to the smiling face it should review two messages and the line said by Smilin’ Jack in the play. The three things should be:

This is your last warning.
Quit now to live. Ignore me and die.
I ate your friends. I’m a bloodthirsty ghoul, you know.

Clue 4: Discarded Note

Clue Background

Two of the cast members, Kelly Rice and Rue Neil, overheard Jack’s voice while locked in the supply room. Upon investigation, Sullivan found a password protected cell phone hidden in the vent of the room. He also found a crumpled piece of paper that he assumes will give him a clue on how to unlock the phone.

Hint 1

There are two questions you’ll need to answer to solve this problem. If you haven’t done Clue 3, do that.

Hint 2

If you haven’t read the interview with Kelly Rice and Rue Neil, read (or skim) that.

Ultimate Hint

The above two hints should give you your answers. They are ghoul and stage. From here it’s basically a guess and check. Try to think of words that have to deal with the case.

Solution

We first guessed ghost and that didn’t work. Eventually we got that it is haunt.

After Finding The Phone Password (Audio Puzzle)

After you email Sullivan the code to get into the phone, he’ll send you to a site where you can listen to the audio that was played from it. He asks that you figure out exactly what the audio is trying to say.

Hint 1

The message mentions all of them being “marked”. Does that remind you of anything?

Hint 2

You’ll need to use the three photos that came along with the case.

Hint 3

The message says to look for what is not there. What letters of the alphabet are missing from these photos?

Ultimate Hint

The letters missing are A,E,I,L,N,R,W. You’ll need to figure out who in the cast these letters refer to. The program might be helpful.

Solution

Rearranging the letters you get the name

Erin Law

The Full Story (MAJOR Spoilers)

Eva Verde is the director of an upcoming musical comedy at The Victoria. The musical, Smilin’ Jack, is about a group of friends who travel to a secluded cabin in the woods and somehow (no idea how) accidentally summon an evil ghost (Smilin’ Jack) who possesses one of the friends named Abby and begins killing them.

All is set to go well UNTIL a mysterious and threatening letter is left on set by someone–or something–claiming to be Smilin’ Jack. Jack tells them (in a serious of hilariously ridiculous sentences and puns) that they were foolish to think this was just a musical. He’s here and they are all going to die…one…by…one.

He’s not completely ruthless though; he’ll give them a chance to save themselves in the form of two coded puzzles.

Never mind the puzzles, the cast and crew are terrified. The Victoria is known for being haunted and now the stories are proving to be true! To avoid certain death, they all quit the show. Eva, who doesn’t believe in this ghost story, contacts Detective Sullivan King to help her get to the bottom of what’s happening.

The first puzzle in Jack’s letter leads them to several defaced promotional posters that have nine random phrases graffitied across them. In each of these phrases is one hidden word that tells them how to solve the second of the two puzzles in the letter. This second hidden message directs them to a defaced script of one of the cast members.

Applying heat to this script reveals two more hidden messages (and a line in the script). The messages relay that everyone must quit the play or die. (Sorry Jack you’re too late they already quit before your message was decoded!)

Sullivan, convinced one of the cast members is “Smilin’ Jack”, interviews two of them. The two claim to have heard Jack’s voice telling them something after being locked in a room with the lights turned off. They don’t know what he said, but they know that it sure was scary.

Sullivan searches the room and discovers a cell phone hidden in one of the air ducts. He cracks the cell phone’s password and listens to the Jack’s message himself. The recording eludes to three cast photos that were taken during a cast outing. On each cast member there is a smiling face and a letter. Putting together the letters that don’t appear on any of these photos leads Sullivan to the real Smilin’ Jack: Erin Law.

Once the case is solved, Erin eventually admits to the sabotage. It was her first time having a starring role in a performance and she cracked under the pressure. Being cast as Smilin’ Jack in her first big role meant that she might never be taken seriously by the industry. Afraid of being blacklisted if she dropped out of the play, she decided that sabotaging it was her only option. (Too bad sabotaging the performance will effectively end her career.)

The rest of the cast and crew return to work and the role of Smilin’ Jack goes to Erin’s understudy. Eva is sure the play will be a hit, even after everything that’s happened. In fact, you’re invited!

Sleuth Kings Case 004 Review

If you are looking for my complete walkthrough with hints and solutions, click here! If not, please continue to the review.

Rating: 3/5

Subscription Description

Sleuth Kings is a monthly subscription that delivers fictional detective stories to your door. The premise for each case is that you have been contacted by Detective Sullivan King about a recent case that he has been hired for in which he needs your help. Each month you receive a manila envelope that contains:

  • Instructions on where to go to begin email interactions with Sullivan regarding the case
  • A list of the cases contents (so that you can check that you’ve received everything)
  • A case overview written by Sullivan
  • Approximately 4 clues
  • A Clue Analysis that describes the clues and how to approach each one. (Ignore this paper for an extra challenge)
  • Some additional material/props

Each case is its own story so unlike certain mystery subscriptions (like Hunt A Killer), you can solve the entire case in one sitting. I am told that every 4 cases you receive a bonus case about finding Sullivan’s missing father. (So far I have not received this but I have received several bonus emails regarding his father.)

Case 006: Abraca-Debra (Premise)

Sullivan has been contacted by Debra Hartfield, who claims that she is being framed for the murder of her ex-boyfriend Rich Daughtry. Rich worked as a magician and Debra was his assistant/girlfriend–that is until she found out Rich got another girl pregnant while they were dating. Now, Rich has gone missing, the police assume he’s dead, and several pieces of evidence point in her direction.

The police have yet to find Rich’s body and Sullivan thinks it might just be what he needs to clear Debra’s name. He asks for your help in finding the body and any additional evidence that the police may have missed.

Review (No Spoilers)

First Impressions

This was the first Sleuth Kings mystery that my partner and I attempted to solve so neither of us really knew what to expect. The actual first case that we were scheduled to have delivered was Case 022 (reviewed separately) but when you sign up for an account, they email you a discount for Archive cases which we used to buy this one. That being said, I think both of us were extremely excited to being this new journey and we entered in this mystery with much enthusiasm.

What was delivered to us was a box so we expected the contents to be more…volumized? I’m not sure what the word I want is but we expected there to be larger objects, since the box was a good size. Unfortunately what’s inside the box is a simple manila envelope which is what actually contains the case material. I think the box is just for show.

We opened up the envelope and the first thing we noticed was that for some reason there are two instructions on how to start the case that are almost identical. I’m not sure why. My best guess is that they started with one form and decided to update it at a later point and as a result they now just have two? Who knows. My suggestion is to get rid of the (albeit cool looking) instructional paper and simply keep the smaller card-stock version that has the list of contents on the back.

Basically how this works is you go to a site (included in both instructions) to send Sullivan an email indicating that you are ready to begin. He responds with basically the exact same set of instructions that can be found in the “Final Thoughts” portion of the My Investigation paper. He tells you what he needs from you to successfully solve the case and what keywords to include in your emails so that he can know what you’re talking about.

The Case

We made our way through this case in approximately 1 hour (slightly less). This may have been in large part due to the Clue Analysis paper which basically told us exactly how to approach each clue. This was my main complaint.

I later found out–after doing another case where the instructions are slightly altered–that we could have skipped reading this paper to make the case more challenging. Unfortunately since this sentence wasn’t written for Case 004, we didn’t know that we could skip it. Not knowing much about how this subscription package worked, we had assumed that all papers were important in solving the mystery.

Additionally, I believe that one of our clues was made improperly. In the box is a few fake playing cards and one of them seems to have been printed upside down. This didn’t affect our ability to solve the case because we just had to flip it but knowing the orientation of that card was something that was kind of important for decoding one of the clues.

The last unfortunate setback is that Sullivan isn’t as “smart” as we would have hoped. By that I mean Sullivan is clearly some sort of email bot; we just thought that he was programmed to handle human interaction better. One of the reviews that my partner and I read online seemed to suggest that Sullivan actually responds to things you say (this review mentioned Sullivan no longer being upset at being called silly nicknames). I discovered during this case that this reviewer was probably just making a joke.

For example, one of the instructions Sullivan tells you is that when you finally solve the case, you should include the word “solution” in your email to him. My partner–hoping to get a real life sort of vibe from these emails–sent out an email that said “The solution isn’t what you think! *answer written here*“. Unfortunately, Bot Sully could not understand this email and responded with some random hint to a clue that we had already solved. After that we decided to just keep our emails as basic as possible (E.g. A reply that simply states “solution *insert solution*“). This took away from the fun immersive experience.

Overall, I am optimistic about this subscription. We are signed up for a prepaid 6 month subscription so we have a lot more to experience! Stay tuned for more reviews and walkthroughs!

Sleuth Kings Case 004 Detailed Solutions/Hints

Note: Sleuth Kings is discontinuing this case as soon as the current supply runs out. If you are unable to purchase it from them, the only way to get it would be secondhand.

The following information is organized by clue item/puzzle. Any items not listed were simply props. Some people have complained online about Sullivan giving away too much when you ask him for a hint. I have tried to create multiple hints for how to solve each puzzle. I hope that this can provide a better experience for fellow Sleuth King subscribers.

At the end of each puzzle section will be the complete “solution”. If anyone found any additional information (or think my conclusions are wrong) from these clues, please comment and let me know!

I have ordered it in the way that I think is the most enjoyable order of going through each puzzle. Sullivan suggests going through the clues in order so I will start with Clue 1. At the very end I will summarize the entire story of the case as best as I can.

Important disclaimer: I will NOT be posting any pictures of the items that are in this case. If you want to experience this case, you must subscribe to Sleuth Kings.

Clue 1: Letter & Note

Clue Background

After Rich’s disappearance, Debra found this letter and note on her kitchen counter along with 4 playing cards (5, 6, 7, 8 of spades).

Hint 1

There is a hidden message in the note. Pay attention to each of the shapes. Do they look familiar?

Hint 2

Look at the small white paper that came with the note, particularly the question. This should give you a hint on what the symbols mean and how to read them.

Ultimate Hint (basically the solution)

Each symbol is a normal letter written over its reflection.

Solution

You can cover up the left half of each column if you’re having trouble with this. The text reads (from left to right):

HELLO DEBRA
I KNOW ABOUT EVERYTHING.
HOW DARE YOU TRY TO STEAL HIM.
JUST WAIT.
YOU AND RICH WILL PAY.
BEV

Clue 2: Letter in Rich’s Office

Clue Background

Following instructions given by Debra, Sullivan went to Rich’s secret office and found a threatening letter on top of the desk.

Hint 1

The letter doesn’t make much sense. Try to view it as not at face value to find a hidden message. Note: The crossed out words don’t matter.

Hint 2

Notice that there are several different types of font throughout the letter. Some words share the same style as others.

Ultimate Hint

Write down all the words of a particular font for each font style. They’ll need to be moved around to make sentences that makes sense.

Solution

Here are the words you get from each font style. There are several sizes of bold words. I will call them “medium bold words” (I see you), “small bold words” (the bookshelves), and “large bold words” (None of it matters now).

  Medium bold words:
    I, SEE, YOU, I, FOUND, NOTE, YOU, OFFICE, KNEW, WOULD, IN, MY, THE
  How we rearranged them:
   I SEE YOU FOUND MY NOTE IN THE OFFICE. I KNEW YOU WOULD.
  (Alternatively: I SEE YOU FOUND THE NOTE IN MY OFFICE. I KNEW YOU WOULD.)

  Larger capitalized words:
    ARE, SURPRISED, YOU, THIS, PLACE, I, KNEW, ABOUT
  How we rearranged them:
   ARE YOU SURPRISED I KNEW ABOUT THIS PLACE?

  Large italicized words:
    I, KNOW, EVERYTHING, ALL, TOO, WELL
  How we rearranged them:
   We didn’t. It reads fine.

  Small cursive words:
   ABOUT, PLAN, THE, CLOSET, CHECK, IF, YOU, WANT, TO, MORE, KNOW, MY
  How we rearranged them:
   CHECK THE CLOSET IF YOU WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT MY PLAN.

  Underlined words:
   DONT, BE
  How we rearranged them:
    We didn’t. It reads fine.

  Small bold words:
   THE, BOOKSHELVES, THE, PAINTINGS, THE, DESK, THE, CHAIR, I, KNOW
  How we rearranged them:
   We had no idea how to. I’m not sure this one is supposed to make sense.

  Large bold words:
   NONE, OF, IT, MATTERS, NOW
  How we rearranged them:
   We didn’t. It makes sense as is.

  Written words:
   Bev

Putting this together gives something like the following:

I see you found my note in the office. I knew you would. Are you surprised I knew about this place? Don’t be. I know everything all too well. Check the closet if you want to know more about my plan. Bev.

Clue 3: Note in Rich’s Closet

Clue Background

After opening the closet (and having a surprise picture of him taken), Sullivan noticed this paper taped to the wall under the camera. It must say something but he doesn’t know what.

Hint 1

Notice that the note has a picture of a spade at the bottom. The cards should help you with this one.

Hint 2

Notice that on the note, all of the pairs of numbers begin with either a 5, 6, 7, or 8. All end with a number between 1 and 8.

Hint 3

On the 5 of spades there is an A in the top left corner and on the 8 of spades there is a Z in the bottom right corner. (Hopefully your cards were made properly to determine the orientation because my 8 of spades wasn’t. Your card should be right side up in a way that makes the back of it also right side up). Use this to fill in the rest of the alphabet.

Ultimate Hint

After filling out the missing letters on the cards from left to right, use the numbers to find the corresponding letter. For example, 81 would be the letter that corresponds to the first spade on the 8 of spades.

Solution

After matching the numbers with the letter on the corresponding spade, the message reads:

Smile Debra. You have one hour to stop the email by looking diagonally.

Clue 4: Clue to Rich’s Email

Clue Background

Sullivan can’t get into the computer that was in Rich’s office because it is password protected. He does, however, find a reminder note that Rich left himself about his password.

Hint 1

Recall that an hour after Sullivan had his picture taken, the police received an email of the photograph.

Hint 2

You’ll need to use the message from Clue 3.

Ultimate Hint

Start from the bottom right corner and read diagonally upwards.

Solution

Starting from P and working diagonally upwards, the reminder reads

Password is rabbit.

After Finding Rich’s Password (Email Puzzle)

After you email Sullivan the correct password to Rich’s email, he will respond telling you to give him some time to go through the computer. After a few minutes you should get another email from Sullivan. On the computer he found a strange email that he believes has a hidden message. He asks you to figure out what it is.

Hint 1

The message basically makes no sense. Take notice of how the message is formatted. Sentences are chopped strangely.

Hint 2

Take note of the capitalized words. The first sentence should give you a hint.

Ultimate Hint

The first sentence has the capitalized words “First” and “Last. It wants you to pay attention to the first and last words of each line.

Solution

If you read the first and last words of each line, (ignoring the first line) the message reads:

I’m ready to fake my death. Have my new identity finished in one week.

The Back of the Playing Cards

Clue” Background

Though the playing cards are not actually labeled as a clue, you may notice that there are strange symbols on the back of them.

Hint 1

If you haven’t solved Clue 1 yet, do that.

Hint 2

If you haven’t solved Clue 3 yet, do that.

Ultimate Hint

After reading the right half of each symbol, you should get numbers that look like those in Clue 3. Solve this puzzle the same way. The cards should be in numerical order from left to right. The message should read from left to right (across all cards).

Solution Part 1: Decoding the Symbols

Using the same method as Clue 1 of looking at the right half of each symbol you should get.

64 51 72 51 82 82 63 55 61 71 87 55 77 72 74 82 55 71 85 51 64 82 64 73 62 74 73 72 87 73 55 85 64 54 55 73 82 64 82 87

Solution Part 2: Decoding the Message

Using the same method as Clue 3 to convert these numbers to letters, the message says:

I am at the flyer motel waiting on my new identity.

The Full Story (MAJOR Spoilers)

Rich Daughtry worked as a magician (Rich the Magnificent) with his assistant and girlfriend Debra Hartfield. They dated for three years but after finding out that Rich had cheated on her and impregnated a woman named Beverly, Debra left.

Determined that the best revenge was her own success, Debra set out to create her own act, purchasing a feathery costume that she would use for it.

Some time later Rich went missing and after 3 days the police presumed him dead. On top of that, Debra’s costume went missing and in their investigation the police found a bloody feather from her outfit along with several threatening notes addressed to Rich from Debra.

A panicking Debra contacts Detective Sullivan to prove her innocence. Her costume was stolen and she did not send those notes! Further, someone has broken into her apartment and left cryptic notes and playing cards. Originally convinced that Debra was guilty, Sullivan eventually takes the case after interviewing her.

First, Sullivan decodes the note left in Debra’s apartment. It is a message from Beverly (Bev) threatening both Debra and Rich!

After decoding this note, Debra gives Sullivan the location to Rich’s secret office. Upon entering, Sullivan finds another strange note on the desk. This is decoded to be yet another note from Bev to Debra telling her to check the closet if she wants to know more about Bev’s evil plan.

Once he enters the closet however, Sullivan is splashed with fake blood and a picture of him is taken. Under the camera is a coded note that tells Debra that she must hack into Rich’s computer in an hour before that picture of hers gets emailed to the police!

In order to get into Rich’s computer, Sullivan decodes a note next to it that tells him the correct password. Inside, Sullivan discovers a strange coded email that Rich sent to someone telling them that he is about to fake his death and needs a new identity in one week!

Now knowing that Rich is still alive, Sullivan just has to find out where Rich is hiding. On the back of the playing cards that were left in Debra’s apartment is a message that reveals that Rich is waiting at the Flyer Motel. Sullivan travels there to confront Rich and upon successfully finding him, turns him over to the police. Debra is cleared!

So the questions we have now are: Why did Rich fake his death? Who framed Debra? Was it Rich or Beverly?

Turns out, Beverly wasn’t in on the plan. Rich faked his death and wanted Debra to go to jail for it. As a Plan B, Rich planted more documents around his office to frame Beverly in case Debra didn’t go down easily. A remaining question you might have is: why the heck did Rich leave Debra a coded message about his location?

The answer is simple: he got too greedy. He wanted Debra (or worst case scenario: Beverly) to go to jail for his murder BUT he wanted Debra to know that he had gotten the best of her. He left his location on those cards because he HOPED that after he fled with his shiny new identity that she would figure out that he was the one who did this to her.

Okay, sure, but why did he want to fake his death in the first place? Just to figuratively slap Debra in the face?

Well, no one knows for sure, but Debra is convinced that Rich has no idea how to be a father nor how to run a successful magician act with Debra as his competition. She thinks he wanted to run away because he was scared about what his future held.

Anyways, now that she’s been cleared of murder, Debra is ecstatic. Who wouldn’t want to see the amazing act of a woman who “escaped prison”?

And with that Debra leaves you with a mathematical magic trick:

Choose a number
Multiply your number by 2
Add 14 to the answer
Divide the total by 2
Subtract your original number

If you did this properly, your number should be 7 (which is the number on the back of a playing card included in the letter). Magic right!?

Well, no–not really. Sorry to ruin the magic (oops) but this is basically just a roundabout way of dividing 14 by 2. As a fake mathematician I will prove it. Here are the instructions again but this time next to them in red will be what is happening mathematically.

Choose a number   n
Multiply your number by 2   2n
Add 14 to the answer   2n+14
Divide the total by 2   (2n+14)/2 = 2(n+7)/2 = n+7
Subtract your original number   n+7-n = 7

And that’s the end of Case 004: Abraca-Debra! My actual review of this case will be posted sometime tomorrow (hopefully)!

Subscription Reviews Coming Soon!

My partner and I recently subscribed to Sleuth Kings, a monthly mystery subscription in which we have to solve fictional cases.

We have worked through 4 of them so far so I plan on reviewing them each individually. We have more cases coming so feel free to check back every so often to see if I’ve reviewed a new case!

Each review will be as spoiler-free as possible. I plan on creating separate posts that are detailed descriptions of how we solved each case and what we took away from each clue. I’m not too familiar with WordPress since I just made this blog but I will try to make these other posts as structured as I can.

I have discovered that Sleuth Kings doesn’t have much a social media presence in terms of working community so hopefully some other Sleuth Kings subscribers find this blog helpful!

Book Review: Towering by Alex Flinn

Rating: 2/5

The story was a really interesting take on the classic story of Rapunzel but bad writing and editing made it fall flat.

Premise

The story is a retelling of Rapunzel taking place sometime (I assume) in the 21st century. 

Rachel is a young woman who has been secretly kept in a tall tower in the middle of a forest for her own safety. She discovers that her hair will occasionally grow to extreme lengths and eventually creates a rope that allows her to leave, but her fear of what dangers the outside world holds keeps her from leaving for good. 

Wyatt is a young man who moves to a large house in a small isolated town to finish his studies. The house is owned by an old woman whose daughter went missing long ago. As he settles into his new life, he discovers he finds himself enchanted by someone’s singing that seemingly no one else can hear. 

Review (No Spoilers)

I was really excited to read this book. For one, I read Beastly in college and though I do not at all remember how much I liked it (if I even did like it), I am a HUGE sucker for cheesy fairytales. Imagine my sadness when I discovered that this book was a totally utter mess. 

I liked the new take on the classic tale of Rapunzel but the way these elements were put together seemed to lack any real thought on the authors part. It seemed like Alex Flinn one day had some good ideas for a story but didn’t feel like actually trying to nicely put them together. There were so many plot holes and sloppy explanations. 

Perhaps the worst thing for me was that I feel like whoever edited it didn’t even try. Let me give you the worst excerpt of writing from this book in which a woman stops walking twice:

A woman approached me first. At a point about ten feet away, she stopped walking. What did she mean to do? I saw that her eyes were the same shade of blue as her clothing, an almost inhuman shade, the same color as the folowing plants that hung from the ceiling. Like the others, her eyes appeared foggy, as if she was not sure what she was seeing. I remembered my strength. I could fight her off if she tried to harm me. But I couldn’t fight all of them.

Then, suddenly, she stopped walking.

Not to mention, almost all of the characters in this book talk really weirdly for no real reason. It doesn’t really add up, then again, a lot of things in this book didn’t. (I made a very spoilery list of questions that I had at the end of the book on my Goodreads review)

Book Review: Pop Apocalypse by Lee Konstantinou

I recently started reading more frequently as a result of missing it and feeling guilty about not progressing in my Goodreads 2019 Book Challenge. I was suggested Pop Apocalypse by Lee Konstantinou.

Book CW/TW:

  •  There are I believe 2 date-rapey scenes. The main character is in fact introduced via one of them.
  • MC expresses sexual interest in a 16 year old girl, despite being 27/28 in the book.

Rating: 2/5 stars

I found this book incredibly boring for the first half. Once I got to the start of the main arc, I regained interested for a short while before losing it once again. There are certain instances of hilarity but as someone who prefers YA novels and stays away from political/religious news, this book wasn’t for me. 

Premise

The book takes place in the near future (around the year 2028). Several religious factions and powers exist throughout the world, some allied and some at odds. The world seems like it may be on the brink of a huge religious war. 

The story follows Eliot Vanderthorpe Jr., the 27 year old son of and heir to Omni Science, a corporation that from my understanding has created a sort of future capitalistic google where people can search footage from all over the world and purchase premium footage/photos for a price. Eliot is a major screw up party boy who left his family to go on a major drug binge, isolating himself from his friends and ex-girlfriend Sarah. 

After returning home and being put to work by his father, Eliot uses a super search in his father’s office and discovers that there is a man who looks exactly like him in California, in an area that regular Omni searches don’t pick up. He embarks on a search to discover who this person is and why he exists. All while trying to fix his negative reputation and relationship with those he cares about. 

Review (Mild Spoilers)

This was the first “adult book” that I’ve completed in a long time. I mostly enjoy reading YA novels because I don’t really look to books as intellectual exercise machines but rather as fun ways to pass the time. After reading this book I realized why I don’t like adult books. 

First of all, I felt like over half the time I had no idea what was going on. Even after finishing the book I didn’t have a complete picture of what the state of the world was and what exactly what going on with the waring religions. This was partly because my vocabulary isn’t as big as this book needed it to be, especially with it’s religious undertones, but also because I found myself getting bored when reading and skimmed certain passages. 

Something that I complained about in the first half of the book was the fact that I felt as though most of the things being said to me as a reader weren’t actually important to the story. There were many “weird” scenes mentioned in the book that were in fact very entertaining but also not vital to the story. So when I got to scenes or paragraphs of text that weren’t entertaining in their weirdness, I got annoyed at being forced to read things that I didn’t actually care about. 

I finished the book and had NO idea how I was supposed to feel. Though it might have been a result of me basically hating the protagonist the entire time.

Book Review: When You Read This by Mary Adkins (My First Real Post!)

Rating: 4.5/5

A fast an enjoyable read told through nonconventional means. Not much else to say. I didn’t give it a 5 simply because I wanted more from the ending but I’m not exactly sure what. 

Book CW: character death, cancer, profanity

Premise

The book is a compilation of emails, text messages, and blog posts. 

Iris Massey is a young woman who finds out she is dying of cancer. To cope with her condition, she joins a blogging community of people like her and begins to write. After she dies, her family and friends struggle to come to terms with what is the right thing to do to honor her wishes. 

Before her death, Iris worked for a PR company created and run by Smith Simonyi. As a result of several business failures, the company is losing money fast. Smith’s only financial security comes from secretly “borrowing” money from his biggest client.

After Iris passes, Smith’s assistant Carl discovers a note left behind from Iris in which she tells Smith about her blog and expresses her wish that he publish it. In order to do so, Smith must request permission from Iris’ sister Jade, who is adamant that it is not only a terrible idea but also a scheme to exploit her sister’s death for profit. 

Will they be able to come to an agreement? 

Review (Mild Spoilers)

I read this book over the course of 2 days and it was surprisingly hilarious. I would have probably read it in one sitting if I weren’t as busy with my job.  It was like a novel made specifically to make fun of the way technology has become. I was laughing while reading as early as page 3. 

There are no real chapters, instead there are simply shifts in media. The general format is that there are several email exchanges (after Iris’ death) intermixed with occasion blog posts written by Iris before she died. 

Although I found all the characters unlikeable, they were unlikeable in kind of the best ways (if that makes sense).

  • Smith was maybe the most likeable(?) but he had a lot of problems. From sketch business practices to maybe not the best family ties I was unsure whether to like him or not.
  • Jade was probably my least favorite character. She was extremely go-getting (which I can admire) but in a way where she didn’t care at all about what she was doing to other people. I found myself annoyed with her inflated idea of self-importance and her constant asserting of herself into other people’s lives. Even after Iris died, Jade was convinced that she knew exactly what was best for her sister. 
  • Carl…what can I say about Carl? He was a complete hot mess the entire book and a total plot device. Reading interactions to/from Carl was probably the highlight of the book for me because of how ridiculous he is.

I’m not sure I would have found the story interesting had it not been told the way it was. A plot revolving around a sketchy business owner and a self-absorbed sister not getting along doesn’t sound as fun when I think about it not being told through passive aggressive (and straight up aggressive) email exchanges, so I’m very happy that the book was written the way it was. The only qualm I really had was that at the very end of the book I felt as if the story didn’t really wrap up. I found myself missing the feeling of closure that a book normally would give me. 

I definitely recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a quick and enjoyable read. 

Introduction

A bit about myself: I go by Jenny online; feel free to call me Jenny or Jen. At the time of this post I am 25 years old and currently live in Hawaii.

I decided to start this blog because I love reading but have a terrible memory. There are many books that I think about rereading only to realize that I don’t remember if I even enjoyed them the first time.

Originally, I started using the private notes section on my Goodreads account to write little summaries about how I felt about the book but due to the character limit I couldn’t go into much detail. I follow a book blogger on twitter and that is where this idea came from.

In the future I plan to also use this page to talk about things other than books such as subscription services, movies, tv shows, and possibly more!

I don’t really expect to gain much traction on this page but in the event that I do, I hope you enjoy reading my reviews and find them helpful!