Toxic Side Effect by Sandy Magner Book Review

  • Category: Books,
  • Words: 596 Pages: 3
  • Published: 14 September 2021
  • Copied: 153

Fast-paced and captivating, Sandy Magner's Toxic Side Effect keeps the reader at the edge of their seat from start to finish. Following the murder of Jennifer's father, Richard, the reader is tossed into a case of whodunit. With no other suspects and a lack of evidence, the blame is shifted onto the last person who was with Richard before his untimely death, his wife Audrey. Jennifer, however, refutes the idea and frantically tries to piece everything together before her mother is wrongfully charged. Her finds expose a chain of decade-old secrets and a tragic love story where those involved had just enough motivation to commit the deadly deed.

We are immediately thrown into chaos starting with a frantic phone call; Jennifer's father is poisoned and is dying. There are no suspects except Jennifer's mother, Richard's wife of fifty years. While Jennifer initially suspected her mother, she partners with her best friend to find evidence and other culprits in an attempt to clear her mother's name. Unfortunately, what she finds is that her father was having an affair that produced a child, all while still being married to her mother Audrey. With this information and her father's passing, Jennifer is determined to confront her father's mistress and meet her sibling, however, what she learns from this encounter leaves her teeming with more questions than answers. How well did she know her father and just how many people had his selfish actions impacted?

Toxic Side Effect was a short, fast-paced thriller where everything wasn't as black and white as our protagonist had hoped. As the story delved into Richard's affair and we were finally introduced to his mistress, I couldn't help but feel remorseful at her situation. She had endured so many things in the name of love, one in which was holding on to the hopes that Richard would leave his wife for her; which never happened. Most of her appearances throughout the story were somewhat heartbreaking as she suffered so much. At times, I couldn't help but think that Richard, despite how friendly and likable his character was portrayed, was self-serving and caused his own death. Otherwise, the characters were enjoyable, with my favorite being Jennifer's best friend, Kat. Her wittiness and skill to lighten even the most serious of situations had me laughing even when I didn't mean to.

As for the story's overall plot, being an avid crime and thriller reader, I could tell from a couple of chapters, who the culprit was, and even then, I was still surprised at the reveal. I found that the events flowed into each other smoothly, however, how the case was resolved felt almost childish. For one, Jennifer did everything; she did the interrogations, as rash as they were, found the evidence, found the guilty party, and at the end, she should've just been a part of the investigations division. Secondly, the police were lacking after they found grounds to conduct a more thorough investigation. At the start of the case, they found the second life the victim led and still had done nothing in the weeks preceding Richard's death, it felt as though they were sure Audrey was the one who murdered her husband. Considering that this might have been a tactic to throw readers off the culprit's scent, it could have been done more masterfully but it didn't deter me from the story.

To conclude, Toxic Side Effect deserves a three out of four stars as it was enjoyable, but I think the police could have been more active in the case and not taken a backseat to Jennifer. The book seemed to be professionally edited as I found only a few spelling errors but these did not hinder my reading. Additionally, the book does include profanities throughout and due to this, I would recommend that this to mature audiences who enjoy short thrillers or family dramas.

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