The 22 Murders of Madison May by Max Barry The 22 Murders of Madison May by Max Barry
Narrator: Helen Laser
Published by Penguin Audio on July 6, 2021
Source: Purchased
Genres: Science Fiction, Thriller
Length: 10 hrs 23 mins
Pages: 334
Format: Audiobook
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three-half-stars

From the critically acclaimed author of Jennifer Government and Lexicon comes mind-bending speculative psychological suspense about a serial killer pursuing his victim across time and space, and the woman who is determined to stop him, even if it upends her own reality.

I love you. In every world.

Young real estate agent Madison May is shocked when a client at an open house says these words to her. The man, a stranger, seems to know far too much about her, and professes his love--shortly before he murders her.

Felicity Staples hates reporting on murders. As a journalist for a midsize New York City paper, she knows she must take on the assignment to research Madison May's shocking murder, but the crime seems random and the suspect is in the wind. That is, until Felicity spots the killer on the subway, right before he vanishes.

Soon, Felicity senses her entire universe has shifted. No one remembers Madison May, or Felicity's encounter with the mysterious man. And her cat is missing. Felicity realizes that in her pursuit of Madison's killer, she followed him into a different dimension--one where everything about her existence is slightly altered. At first, she is determined to return to the reality she knows, but when Madison May--in this world, a struggling actress--is murdered again, Felicity decides she must find the killer--and learns that she is not the only one hunting him.

Traveling through different realities, Felicity uncovers the opportunity--and danger--of living more than one life.

The 22 Murders of Madison May has a great concept. A lone killer is stalking one woman through multiple words, killing her every time she doesn’t live up to his idea of the perfect Madison. A group of other individuals, including the mysterious Hugo, is also moving across worlds, kind of in search of the perfect world, maybe. The group’s motives weren’t quite clear to me, but it was obvious that the killer is messing up their plans too. Felicity Staples is a newspaper reporter in New York when she discovers that multiverses exist and that Madison May is a murder target in every one of them. Felicity and Hugo move from world to world to stop the killer.

Madison May, depending on which world, is an actress, a real estate agent, a weather girl, a student, etc, but she always ends up dead. And the same man always kills her. But the differences, similarities, and twists in the worlds keep it interesting. Felicity also finds herself in different versions of her life, including changes in her boyfriend Gavin and their relationship. She grows as she moves through the worlds, learning what she considers important in her life.

The action is fast and engaging right. The science is superficially explained at best, but the characters are fun and carry the story. I was a bit let down in the end though. I don’t know what I wanted, but it kind of left me a little blah. The idea was great and most of the novel was engrossing, but maybe there just wasn’t enough to it. Maybe the end was a bit anticlimatic. I’m not sure. It’s definitely worth reading, it just wasn’t as outstanding as the blurb promised.

About Max Barry

Max Barry is the author of seven novels and the creator of the popular online game NationStates. He lives in Melbourne, Australia, with his wife and two daughters. Sometimes he coaches kids’ netball.

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