Saturday, March 11, 2017

Book Review: DEAD CERTAIN, by Adam Mitzner

Adam Mitzner
Thomas & Mercer (June 2017)
348 pages
Thriller / Mystery / Suspense

** Review is based on an Advance Review Copy (ARC) / Details and specifics may change once book is actually published June 2017 **

I am up to date. Ahead of schedule, actually. I have now read all five novels by Adam Mitzner, and it has been an awesome adventure.

DEAD CERTAIN, much like THE GIRL FROM HOME, steps away from the legal thriller, and moves more into mystery / suspense. There is still a legal aspect, and the main character, Ella Broden, is an attorney --but those facts are secondary to the plot. (Although it was kind of cool seeing Ella's father --also an attorney-- representing a notorious criminal from an early Adam Mitzner tale. Mitzner likes to do that, I've noticed. Splash a bit of this and that from one book into the next. Kind of a treat --an Easter Egg-- for readers).

In DEAD CERTAIN, Ella's kid sister, Charlotte has some big news. She's sold her first novel. It's a murder mystery. She hasn't yet completed the book. Regardless, one of the largest publishers offered up a contract. With the first half done, and a copy given to Ella to read ASAP, Charlotte is anxious to celebrate, and tell their father the cool news!

Ella is a lawyer by day, and a lounge singer by night. She takes on a complete different persona. A new new name, a different look. After the death of her mother, Ella pursued a career as an attorney to make her father proud. She set aside her dream of becoming a professional singer. She realized it was time to grow up back then --and only now does she allow herself the chance to sing one night a week. It is also why when Charlotte shares her good news, Ella can't help but feel a little bit of jealousy.

Everything changes when two days later no one has heard from Charlotte. Charlotte is unreachable. Police initially think Charlotte's boyfriend may be the only suspect. However, after Ella reads the first half of her sister's manuscript, and although she knows the work is fiction, she can't help but wonder if Charlotte might have been leading a double-life as well.

In the manuscript, the main character has a boyfriend, and two other lovers. The boyfriend who is the artist, a student with little experience, and a banker, who is married. Working with the police, Ella tries to fit together parts of her sister's life with with pieces she never knew existed.

The question is simple. What else was Charlotte hiding? And on a more basic level, is Charlotte still alive?

As I have come to expect, Adam Mitzner weaves together a plot that just keeps you reading, and your mind churning with thoughts, and ideas, and guesses, all the while hoping for the best, but fearing the worst! Tension is high, and the suspense just builds and builds in DEAD CERTAIN. Well worth the read, folks. Well worth it!

Phillip Tomasso
Author of the Severed Empire Series
and The Vaccination Trilogy

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