Cover Image: Dead Letters

Dead Letters

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Member Reviews

The review of Dead Letters is in the September 2021 issue of Gumshoe Review and is exclusive to them until October 1st.

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When it rains, it pours.

Claudia Rose's brother plans to join a few friends for a reunion of sorts. Unfortunately, he has a run-in with a man. The next morning, the man is found dead. Claudia gets a call from her brother asking her to get him a lawyer, as he's been arrested for murder.

Meanwhile her niece. Monica, is in Egypt helping out at an archeology site. She's supposed to check in with her dad or her aunt every single day. When no phone calls come in and she ignores text messages, Claudia becomes concerned.

With her brother having no choice but to remain at home, it is up to Claudia to make a trip to Egypt herself.

Checking with Monica's friends and advisor at the site, she discovers that Monica has disappeared. Talking to her best friend, hoping they've been in contact, Claudia learns that Monica has been seeing a young man from another site .. and he has also disappeared.

The frantic search takes Claudia to Egypt, Gibraltar, and the UK, where her skills as a forensic handwriting expert of international renown are needed to help foil a deadly terrorist plot.

As it's been 4 years since the last Claudia Rose book, I was keeping fingers crossed the book would be as well-written as the first in her series. I was not disappointed. The plot is intriguing and the story line well developed. The characters are solidly drawn. I learned a lot about Egypt .. it's culture, both past and present ... the people .. the artifacts that have been discovered. Although 8th in the series, this is easily read as a stand alone.

Many thanks to the author / Write Choice Ink / Netgalley for the digital copy of this crime fiction. Read and reviewed voluntarily, opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own.
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For anyone who is a parent or has someone they love like their own child, will find their worst nightmares come true in this thriller more than mystery.  Claudia’s eighteen-year-old niece is off on her own in Egypt at an archaeological dig when she disappears.  Claudia, a writing expert, rushes off to see what she can do to help track down her niece when her brother is kept home in the United States because he has been accused of murder!  Some great atmosphere and lots of suspense.  I’m a sucker for archaeological mysteries.  This has some of that but it is much more grounded in the realities of the tensions that are all too real in the Middle East today.  

Claudia has an interesting job and what she can figure out from handwriting alone sometimes seems like a psychic ability but is grounded in practice and study.  Some of that comes in handy in the story but sometimes it is a bit of a stretch.  Claudia is understandably frustrated when investigators don’t just believe that her niece would never be involved in anything illegal or just willingly go off without contacting them but she is also a bit annoying.  The police have to be more impartial than a distraught family member.  I understand that she has no desire to be reasonable, and if she was, there wouldn’t be a story, but still can be a bit annoying.  At least she doesn’t attempt to take on the bad guy all by herself.  That’s just a personal pet peeve.  Some books it is easier to let it go than others.  Maybe I’m just in an arguable mood.  

Overall, I enjoyed the book.  I thought it was a good thriller.  Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of the ARC in an exchange for an honest review.
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What a snarky, full-of-herself protagonist. Claudia knows better than the police and MI5. How lucky MI5 was to have Claudia on the case.
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Eighteen year old Monica Bennett has gotten a chance to join an archaeological dig in Egypt. Once there, she falls for the magnetic archaeologist Colin Vine, who is on another dig and they take off for a romantic weekend. Meanwhile in California, her aunt Claudia, a graphologist with a homicide detective for a husband gets a call from Monica's dad that he has been accused of murder at a reunion in Tucson. Monica helps her brother but he cannot leave the country, so she leaves for Egypt, then Gibraltar, and then London, England searching for her missing niece and Colin and some missing artifacts and possible terrorists. The story moves quickly and though this is book 8 in the series, readers still get enough of the backstory to enjoy this one. I picked up this book because it was about archaeology and having the brothers/dad story bookend it detracted it for me a little. Still, the characters are interesting and I will read another title by the author. Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
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As a rabid international traveler, I relate to the awe of walking on ancient stones and gaping at historical architecture and wonders such as mosaics.  So, I am always keen to learn more.  And I was expecting to learn more about archaeology than what was presented in this book.  However, Egypt as a setting is lovely and always captures my interest.  The nod to the incomparable Tower of London is great as well.

As the title alludes to, death is enshrouded in mystery, an arrest is made and the accused held in a detention center.  Meanwhile, Monica and Colin find themselves in a very dangerous and twisty pickle which has far-reaching implications.  Claudia's special skills come in handy as do those of her husband, Joel, as they chip away at the numerous layers.

Learning more about handwriting would have been so wonderful!  For some reason this book seemed to be a bit one dimensional, lacking verve and believability.  

My sincere thank you to Write Choice Ink and NetGalley for allowing me to read the e-ARC of this book.
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The book disappointed me because it had so less ( almost none ) handwriting analysis thing that I picked it for. It felt more like a usual mystery , and even that was a bit too easy to solve or felt very unreal and hapoenning just for the sake of it. I like the family bonds , some parta of Egypt a little. But after a point I could not be bothered with the history / beauty of any city. There was no atmospheric tension or dialogue to this.
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I'll admit, the Egyptian element drew me in. Sadly, aside from the magical setting, the book wasn't for me. It is full of cursing and the plot meanders wildly. At 29%, it was still scene setting. This one is not for me.
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