The Enigma of Room 622 by Joël DickerThe Enigma of Room 622 by Joël Dicker
Translator: Robert Bononno
Narrator: Chris Harper
Published by HarperAudio on September 13, 2022
Source: Purchased
Genres: Mystery
Length: 16 hrs
Pages: 592
Format: Audiobook
Purchase at Bookshop.org or Audible
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two-stars

"One night in December, a corpse is found in Room 622 of the Hotel Verbier, a luxury hotel in the Swiss Alps. A police investigation begins without definite end, and public interest wanes with the passage of time.

Years later, the writer Joel Dicker, Switzerland's most famous literary ingenue, arrives at that same hotel to recover from a bad breakup, mourn the death of his longtime publisher, and begin his next novel. Little does Joel know that his expertise in the art of the thriller will come in handy when he finds himself investigating the crime. He'll need a Watson, of course: in this case, that would be Scarlett, the beautiful guest and aspiring novelist from the next room, who joins in the search while he tries to solve another puzzle: the plot of his next book.

Meanwhile, in the wake of his father's passing, Macaire Ebezner is set to take over as president of the largest private bank in Switzerland. The succession captivates the news media, and the future looks bright, until it doesn't. The bank's board, including a certain Lev Levovitch-Geneva's very own Jay Gatsby-have other plans, and Macaire's race to the top soon becomes a race against time... A matryoshka doll of a mystery built with the precision of a Swiss watch. Joel Dicker presents a diabolically addictive thriller where a love triangle, a power struggle, shocking betrayals and dangerous envy play out against the backdrop of a not so quiet Switzerland, where the truth twists and turns into something no reader will see coming. A European phenomenon, Dicker's latest page-turner is his most personal novel yet"

The Enigma of Room 622 is the first of Dicker’s works I’ve read. I think I saw it on one of those must-read mysteries of this month lists. I’m not sure if I enjoyed it or not. I feel like I missed some of it because of my unfamiliarity with the author, who has fictionalized himself as one of the characters in this story within a story (within a story).

A. Joël has come to a hotel to refresh after a bad breakup and the death of his editor. The hotel does not have a room 622. He and Scarlett, a woman he meets at the hotel, decide to investigate what happened in room 622. Apparently, it has to do with the Ebezner Bank, Switzerland’s largest private bank, and the banquet that had been held at the hotel years before.

B. (Joël’s story based on what he and Scarlett learn) Macaire Ebezner and Lev Levovitch are both poised to take over the reins of the bank – but who will the Board of Directors vote for? And who killed the person found dead in Room 622? And who will get the beautiful Anastasia?

C. The final twist is revealed in the last couple pages of the book. (which maybe explains some of the flaws of the rest of the book, but is probably not a big enough payoff.)

I admit I did get caught up in the story. It’s like a soap opera – overly intertwined relationships, ridiculous plot lines, absurd amounts of money, jealousy, false identities, etc. There are tons of twists and turns, secrets kept by the characters and secrets kept by the author. The further along we go, the more over the top the story went. And then we got to the end, which felt like a bit of a cop-out.

About Joël Dicker

Joel Dicker was born in 1985 in Geneva, Switzerland, where he studied law. He spent childhood summers in New England, particularly in Stonington and Bar Harbor, Maine. The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair won three French literary prizes, including the Grand Prix du Roman from the Académie Française, and was a finalist for the Prix Goncourt. Dicker lives in Geneva.

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