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The Test (Laura Nelson Mystery #3)

3.18 of 5 stars 3.18  ·  rating details  ·  468 ratings  ·  78 reviews
Renowned philanthropist and billionaire Paul Parnell had reached the pinnacle of monetary success, but not without cost. Had he put too much emphasis on work and spent too little time with his family?Determined to leave something far more valuable than money to his six children, Paul instructs his lawyers to create an unusual last will and testament. This unorthodox will, ...more
Hardcover, 265 pages
Published October 5th 2009 by Oceanview Publishing (first published January 1st 2009)
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The book The Test by Patricia Gussin was a intriguing idea that was poorly conceived. The Test is a story of the patriarch of the Parnell family, the vastly wealthy Peter Parnell‘s, last dying wish for his successors. This wish is to not to make the same mistakes he did, focusing on business and wealth instead of what really matters. So enters “The Test.”

The problem with this book is not the premise itself, but the introduction of so many characters within the first two chapters. By giving us a
This is a very trashy, escapist sort of book that is quite fun. Yes, people make poor choices and sometimes act like soap opera rejects, but it's fun! And several of the characters have enough depth to make you actually care about them. I will say, though, that there were far too many quotation mark errors in this book, particularly near the end. It's like the copy editor started out wanting to do a good job, but then got tired or drunk or something and just gave up. It got to be a bit annoying. ...more
This was not a terribly well-written or well-plotted book, but I was pulled in by its premise and found it worth the read.

The action in The Test kicks off with a wealthy American businessman at the end of his life deciding that he has failed to instill in his seven children and their families an appreciation for family, community, and faith. So the heirs arrive for the will reading and learn that the estate will not be divided up for one year, and that their father left a note for each of them
When Paul Parnell died, he left behind a fortune in the billions, adult children by three different mothers, and a number of grandchildren and in-laws. Prior to his death, Paul realized that one of the regrets of his life was not being active and available in the lives of his children. His trusted lawyer is instructed to create an iron-clad will that requires his 6 surviving children to examine their lifestyles, morals, and values, and make decisions on what is important to each. The final dispo ...more
I bought this book because it had really good reviews - a lot of people claimed "they couldn't put it down!". I was not as impressed.

The idea behind the book - a billionaire dying and making his kids prove their mettle before they can inherit - is a good one. But, somewhere along the lines, THAT story got replaced with all of the kids stories, most notably Ashley with her psychopath, hypnotizing fiance. I felt like "The Test" fell by the wayside, with only a small, one-page blip at the very end
Billionaire Paul Parnell was a typical tycoon. He spent all his time making money any way he could and it was only in his last days that he realized the cost to him and his family. His six children had little or no relationship with each other, and most expected his money to always be there. So before he died he devised a test to try to bring his family back together and teach them the life lessons he failed to teach them when he had the chance. The only way they could claim their inheritance wa ...more
This book is well written, and the characters engaging. I found myself thinking about the story when I was away from the book. I cared what happened, wanting to see the characters grow and improve, to change. most did, in one way or another.

Despite this, I didn't enjoy the book. The cover description was misleading: It said it was about a billionaire having a test for his kids, and how they handled it. That was a part of the story, but a minor part. the major part of the story starts with chapte
Paul Parnell is a billionaire who has just died. He made his money but near the end of his life he began to think about if it was too late for his grown children to learn life lessons. So he devised a test – if they wanted their money they could have it. After a year. If they pass the test.

The problem? None of the children even deal with each other. They don’t really like each other. And there’s a surprise sixth child. That goes over as well as one would expect. Some children want the money, oth
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There is nothing like a good mystery story, especially one that is set in your hometown. Landmarks that the author writes about are familiar enough to make the reader understand the story more. Philadelphia seems to be the setting for many of these stories (Lisa Scottoline being the master)...I suppose because of the city's historical value.

"The Test" is the story of a billionaire family with roots in Philadelphia's exclu
Krista Holtz
First of all, don't read this book. Just don't.

Okay, first of all, while the writer attempted to make interesting characters, they wound up all being cardboard cutouts of interesting people. I could see this book as a bad Lifetime movie, that's how it was. No one was real. The writer attempted to add flaws and interesting little character quirks, but they wound up just being cliche and expected.

Speaking of expected, I had almost the whole thing figured out from the beginning, and I am NOT one o
I picked this up for $.99 as the Kindle Deal of the Day on Amazon.

The premise seemed interesting. I wanted to know if the family would pass this test and who would get the money.

The good
There was a creepy love-to-hate villains in this story. I had to read to the end just to make sure he got what was coming to him
And an action packed ending. Liked the action and that it kept you guessing, but not some other aspects
Character growth

The bad
Too many characters, and a confusing family tree
A lot of cha
Tammy DeStefano
I was drawn to the concept of this book, however, I was disappointed in the execution. The plot was interesting and the characters well defined for the most part. Defining the drama and turmoil in a large wealthy family is not a new idea however, the deceased father trying to make amends for his mistakes by "testing" his children before giving them was. The author confusingly jumps from character to character and skips a months of time. Additionally, there were some unanswered questions I felt l ...more
Beth Anne

this book was a silly, easy read that was more like watching a soap opera unfold. the drama between the members of the richest of East Coast power playing families...the evil villian out to get them...the inheritance left unclaimed until they passed the 'test' was all very dramatic.

the characters were super unrealistic (i've never heard of a family in Philadelphia being that powerful, that famous, that amazing, that well known)...but i didn't really care. the suspense in the story e
I loved the concept, but the story didn't really deliver. Most of the action that is meant to change the characters' lives takes place "off-stage." The funeral is in the autumn with the will-reading immediately following the burial, then...wham! It's Easter. We don't see the characters really struggle (Carla's rehab and Dan's reconciliation with Gina, for example) so there's no way for the reader to connect with any of them. We're introduced to their issues in one chapter, and when we're reintro ...more
Interesting premise that is not explored to near its potential. The Test, after its dramatic introduction, is quickly reduced to an incidental thread, barely holdng the book together.
One-dimensional, mostly unlikable +/or unrelatable characters. More than half of the book is taken with the stories of the two least likable characters, which made it difficult to want to finish it.
Implausible twists and plot developments and a too-neatly- packaged ending. Much of the writing feels self-conscious,
Very compelling! Yes, the novel has problems, but rarely does a book make me want to continue reading straight through to the very end. I would have, too, if other responsibilities had not prevented it.
I very much enjoyed the narration techniques in this book. There are 4 "main" characters (sort of), and the narration for each of them refelcts their personalities. It's a unique approach that I really liked.

With that being said, it's hard to really get attached to a character, and the villain is not very believable. I was not thrilled about the "twist" at the end, either.

Those are my only real complaints, though. The story moves along at an appropriate pace, and there was just enough drama to
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Doc Johnny
Mildly interesting premise: Billionaire dies, leaving a test for all his heirs. Heirs include an insecure med-student, a druggie model, a perfect housewife, an ambitious senator, a blank slate farmer, and a pop singer.

The whole thing develops into not much at all. Characters change abruptly with little development, going from cowardly to brave, greedy to generous without much given to the process.

There is a villain and an unnecessary last minute reveal. Overall there is a smidge of interesting s
The second half of the book was a thrilling page-turner, which is why I went with 3 stars. However, the writing is not that good, and the editing errors in the kindle version are ridiculous. Also, I don't think the title and the synopsis accurately indicate what the book is about. It's basically just a thriller, not a deep novel about family dynamics after the death of the patriarch. The author's note at the beginning was completely unnecessary as well as misleading.

So, it kept me entertained,
Nev Thomas
Ok.Big trouble over a screwy will.
The Test wasn't what I expected, but it was a good read. The authur gives you a picture of the bad guy right off the bat. I just kept hoping he wouldn't get what he wanted. A father leaves a will, in which he hopes to bring his children closer together, and to give them a better code to live their lives. The family isn't close in the beginning, but they grow close through the trials they must go through. They learn that family is more important than the money they stand to inherit.
Amy Weinreich
I didn't expect to fall in love with this book and the Parnell family, but I did!!! The idea of a test to receive an enormous inheritance immediately caught my attention, then to find the book was being offered free .... I couldn't resist! Then, once I started reading, I couldn't put it down. I rarely have a book a five-star rating, but I feel this one was decidedly earned. I look forward to reading other novels by Patricia Gussin.
Very good story line and writing. Has some misspellings but nothing major. There are some dragging parts then there is a lot of page turning parts as well. Worth the read!

.99 amazon daily deal.... An interesting concept....billionaire dies and his will outlines a "test" for heirs before they can get the money... Poorly executed, with some plot twists that didn't seem to be necessary or pertinent to overall storyline.
BUT I liked it...easy to read.. Perfect for the beach. I kept reading to find out who got the money .
I did not expect this to be such a good read. The story is about a billionare who dies and instead of leaving his adult children their inheritance, he challenges them to pass a test by giving back to society and adhering to moral standards their father wished he had taught them when he lived.
Very good story with interesting twists and turns.
This was interesting. A very wealthy man, as he is dying has some regrets, so he changes his will so that his kids will have a year to prove they are living a moral life, faithful to family in order to inherit. Some tragedy, some major changes as the year evolves. Good story.
Liz Keegans
I really wanted to like this book more than I did. I thought this was a really unusual premise; unfortunately, there were too many characters. As a result, there was too much going on and some story lines were a bit of a "stretch". I think a little less would have allowed a little more.
Jul 28, 2012 Nicole rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2012
Not bad. A lot of unexpected twists. The sept. 11 section was rather gratuitous and I skimmed it. But overall, it was a fast, decent read. It was a little trashy (kind of dirty sexy money-ish), but I had trouble putting it down, as I wanted to know what was going to happen.
This book reminded me of a Hallmark movie. There was a lot going on and the ending was predictable. The characters went through struggle and lots of conflict but ultimately found redemption and the ending left you praising the greatest gift of
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Too many characters - drifts halfway 1 2 Jun 17, 2013 10:24AM  
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Patricia Gussin is the author of "The Test", "Twisted Justice", and "Shadow of Death", all thrillers, and "What's Next...For You?", a non fiction book, co-authored with her husband, Robert Gussin. She is a physician, a former pharmaceutical executive, mother of seven, and Editor in Chief for Oceanview Publishing. She lives in Longboat Key, FL and East Hampton, NY and she and her husband are vineya ...more
More about Patricia Gussin...

Other Books in the Series

Laura Nelson Mystery (5 books)
  • Shadow of Death
  • Twisted Justice
  • Weapon of Choice
  • After the Fall
And Then There Was One Shadow of Death Twisted Justice Weapon of Choice After the Fall

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