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The Fourth Descendant

3.45  ·  Rating details ·  1,389 ratings  ·  105 reviews
When Michelle receives a call from a Richmond historian, she sees the chance for a much-needed adventure. All she has to do is find a century-old key.

Three others – a guitarist, an engineer, and a retiree – receive similar calls. Each family possesses a key to a four-lock safe found buried in a Virginia courthouse, though their connection is as mysterious as the safe itsel
Paperback, 306 pages
Published January 30th 2015 by CreateSpace
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Average rating 3.45  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,389 ratings  ·  105 reviews

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John Winston
May 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
There is a case for having a model of what Multiculturalism in literature should look like and author, Allison Maruska has crafted it in this well-written, character driven, mystery novel. The Fourth descendant performs on this level flawlessly and every other level as well. I’m not one to usually speak on race in reviews because I think it only causes the problem to persist, but it deserves mentioning that Maruska is a white author who has created 4 diverse protagonists who have non-traditional ...more
Jan 31, 2016 rated it did not like it
The concept sounded interesting, so I picked up this book for free on Kindle. I'm so glad it was free, because the premise quickly turned to a steaming pile of idiocy. It's sort of like watching a horror movie and screaming "WHAT ARE YOU DOING DON'T DO THAT" at the screen again and again, as the characters continue to make stupid choice after stupid choice.

The improbable things counter:
(view spoiler)
Nina del Arce
The Fourth Descendant is a fast-paced, creative mystery story. It picks up quickly, although in the very first chapters of the book there is some repetition of similar events as the four protagonists are introduced. This part could have been edited down. Once the introductions are over with the plot twists enter the picture; and there are a lot of them! Every time I thought I had figured the author's mind out and could guess where the story was going to go, something entirely different happened. ...more
Colleen M. Chesebro
Jul 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Needless to say, I was excited to find out that I had won two books signed by the author in Dan Alatorre’s First Word Weaver Contest in May 2017. The first book I delved into was, The Fourth Descendant. I loved it so much, I had to review it.

The story begins by introducing the reader to four different people, whom each receives a call from Alex Pratt, a representative from the Richmond Historical Society requesting his or her presence to help solve a mystery.

Recently, the city had done some reno
Michelle Stanley
Mar 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Reviewed by Michelle Stanley for Readers Favorite

The Fourth Descendant is a historical mystery by Allison Maruska. A Richmond historian contacts Sharon, Jonah, Damien and Michelle with incredible news that changes their lives forever. An old letter found in a historic courthouse links these strangers. The letter states that keys entrusted to the families by their ancestors over a century ago will unlock a hidden safe in the courthouse. The perplexed descendants travel to Richmond and open the sa
Apr 11, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: political, mystery
I hesitate to call this "mystery" or "suspense" because it didn't elicit that strong of an emotional response, but it mostly falls into those categories. It's a good basic premise, although the writing feels like a poor first draft that is not fleshed out. The characters are interesting, but entirely too flat for what they could have been. I had trouble defining any personality differences between the two main male characters, even up until the end, because other than their basic physical descri ...more
Feb 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent read by newcomer Allison Maruska! I read The Fourth Descendant in one sitting because I just couldn't put it down!! I was hooked from the first intro and the plot twists that kept me so engaged I couldn't wait to turn the page. The characters are well developed and make you feel their joy, angst, fear, etc. throughout the adventure they lead you on. Maruska uses history, family loyalty, and love to create a fast paced mystery that leaves you on the edge of your seat. You will not be di ...more
Tracy Miller
Jun 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The Fourth Descendant is the epitome of literary fiction, a well-written novel that allows the reader to embark on a wonderful story. The concept enables talented author Allison Maruska to create distinctive characters with unique voices and to thread these characters into a mysterious odyssey full of twists and turns. The protagonists are fully fleshed out and the reader becomes privy to their emotions and actions as the plot unfolds. Just when the reader thinks she knows what's going to happen ...more
Deb McEwan
Mar 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
The Fourth Descendent is a fast-paced mystery in which four strangers come together. The link between them is missing keys, handed down by their ancestors. All four keys are required to open a safe…
The characters were well developed and felt real and I enjoyed the many twists and turns - the author kept me guessing right to the end. The book had the feel of a good yarn and it reminded me of ‘National Treasure’ in some ways. It would make a great movie. Highly recommended.
Apr 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads-won
I received a copy of this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

The first thing I need to say about "The Fourth Descendant" is that it is an amazingly fast read.

I can't fault Allison Maruska's writing... although there seem to be a couple of holes in the plot, which I don't want to mention here (no spoilers!).

Interesting. Thought-provoking. Entertaining.

Yep. A good read.
Sandra Brugh
Jun 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Fourth Descendant

I really enjoyed this book. The characters were easy to relate to and very likable. The story was quick to involve me and keep me up reading late at night until I finished it. I have a close affinity for anything to do with keys, so this definitely grabbed my attention. I can't wait to read more books by this author.
Beth Lee
Jun 09, 2016 rated it it was ok
This book started out with so much potential. Sigh, it needed to be 100 pages longer to develop the characters more. Things happened too fast. You're like "wait, what"? They didn't make sense. I don't want to say to much and give out spoilers so think of this as a harlequin of historical thrillers and you won't be disappointed.
Janelle McClintock
Very good

The Fourth Descendant is a very good story. It certainly made me view "big pharmacy" in a different light. There are truly some things that should be left alone. I really enjoyed reading this book.
Julia Ingram
Oct 31, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Got sillier and sillier

I stopped reading midway because the plot was not believable and the characters acted in ways that seemed unlikely. The bones of something interesting may there, but it needs so much more work to be a successful book.
Johnice Barnett
Feb 11, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

What was the point? No plot really. I did not like this book at all. It had absolutely no point to it.
Jason Aljets
Feb 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a great story with plot twists, character development and an historical angle. Allison is the next big thing in authors and I recommend everyone read everything she puts out!
Amy Gennaro
Sep 02, 2017 rated it did not like it
You know its not a very good book when you keep looking to see how much longer until it ends.....

This book was full of so many unbelievable circumstances from the first.....the premise it that descendents of four families 3 to 4 generations later all get contacted to find special keys that open a safe. All four people contacted miraculously found the keys after 100 years....and on the first try. It went downhill from there, from 4 totally unrelated, unknown people to form a close bond, to a woma
Cheryl Evans
May 09, 2016 rated it liked it
Interesting story with good characters. I didn't quite understand why the "fourth descendant" went so haywire, but it was a good read with lots of suspense.
Mar 16, 2015 rated it it was ok
I had to really force myself to get through this. I found large sections to be confusing and I never developed any interest in the characters. Their actions were baffling. I couldn't get into it.
Julie Barrett
Aug 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Fourth Descendant by Allison Maruska
This book starts out with a man contacting the others whose family also possessed a special key.
They are told to find it and they'd meet as a documentary film is to be created as they open the special vessel.
What I like about this is the action, adventure, travel to various places and just the thought of this book.
It's so believable that this could happen and I enjoyed reading it and following along as other events occur that bring them together, some clo
Tony Puglielli
An interesting story lost in all the words...

I felt like the story took with great vigor, but slowly got lost and scattered in several different ideas. The diversity of the ancestors was very intriguing, but wasn't explained in great depth as to how they were all chosen and brought together. The love story between the descendants was a little distracting and didn't play to the central story arc. The neurosis of the one villainous character wasn't greatly explored. And finally the title isn't rea
Jane Irish Nelson
The main problem with this book is that it didn't seem to be able to make up its mind what genre to be — mystery, suspense, romance, with even a bit of genealogy thrown in. I was attracted by the basic plot idea, but did not feel it was carried out well, and ended up feeling somewhat cheated, especially as some of it did not seem particularly believable. This is a story of ethics and the choices the various characters make in unusual situations.
Interesting premise that was not very well thought out. Characters not very well developed and acted rashly for very little reason. I did not find it believable and that is where this story let me down. And the ending was lame. Peeps have had over a hundred years to think about how to solve a problem and they come up with a lame solution?
May 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a good read.

This book was interesting and captivating all at the same time. I couldn't out if down once I started it. I'd recommend it to anyone who wants a good book to read.

Feb 09, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely horrible.

I don’t write reviews often, but I am for this one to warn others not to waste their time on this book. The storyline was a good idea, however, the execution was horrific, and the writing was poor.
Please don’t waste your valuable time reading this book.
Carol Hardman
Feb 03, 2020 rated it did not like it
I have a 13 year old great niece whose short stories are better than this book. It was awful--ridiculous plot, weak character development, unrealistic ending, soupy romance. I would not recommend this book to anyone -- save your $$.
Mar 23, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's ok

Received this book as a gift. It is not my usual genre but well written and a mildly entertaining story. Not a book I'd personally read again but like I said earlier, not my preferred genre.
William Cady
Oct 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Four individuals from different parts of the country are brought together to unlock a mysterious safe. Before it's all over they will end up friends, and on a journey that will change their lives forever.

Great story, characters were diverse and seemed interesting.
melinda bostic
Jun 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed

Reading this book. It keeps you turning pages from beginning to end. The author needs to do a follow up book. To see how the world excepts this medicine
Ciayrra The Scorpion Flower
Apr 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
This story is well written and a pretty exciting read! It was interesting to find out why these people were brought together and the events leading up to this.
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Allison is a YA and mystery/suspense author, blogger, teacher, mom, wife, coffee and wine consumer, and owl enthusiast. Her blog includes humor posts, short stories, and posts on writing strategy, parenting, and teaching.

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“And to you.” She put her hand on his arm, where his sleeve covered the scar from the gunshot wound, and she looked into his eyes. He cradled the side of her face with his palm. “Pretend it’s just a rafting trip. The shooter is dead, and Alex doesn’t even know about the trip, so if we do find something worth shooting people to get, he’s out of the loop.” Alex was harmless, and Jonah had considered telling him about the trip but figured it would be easier to bring him in if they found something. Alex was too sulky for Jonah’s taste, and he didn’t want to volunteer to drag Eeyore around Virginia if they didn’t find anything. “Have you even been rafting?” she asked, apparently still trying to talk him out of going. “Chris knows what he’s doing on the river. We’ll be fine.” He kissed her. “I promise.” She moved her hand from his arm to the back of his neck and pulled him close. Her warm lips moving over his sent chills through his body, and he wrapped her in his arms while he still held his phone. She reached inside his shirt and gently ran her nails up his back, and he dropped his phone onto the couch. Texting Damien back was going to have to wait. **** Damien glanced away from the sizzling pork chop in the frying pan and to his phone, which rested on the counter near” 0 likes
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