Ever since reading A Conflict of Interest by Adam Mitzner last July, I couldn’t wait to read more by him. I hadn’t planned on reading Dead Certain when I did only a few days ago but as chance would have it, I was provided the opportunity and grabbed it by its pages and I don’t regret it at all.
Ella Broden is living a double life.
By day, Ella works as a buttoned-up attorney on some of the city’s most grueling cases. By night, she pursues her passion for singing in the darkest clubs of Manhattan.
No one knows her secret, not even Charlotte, the younger sister she practically raised. But it seems she’s not the only one in the family with something to hide. When Charlotte announces she’s sold her first novel, Ella couldn’t be more thrilled…until she gets a call that her sister’s gone missing.
Ella starts investigating with the help of Detective Gabriel Velasquez, an old flame in the NYPD, and what she finds is shocking. If art imitates life, then her sister’s novel may contain details of her real-life affairs. And any one of her lovers could be involved in her disappearance.
Desperate to bring Charlotte home, Ella works through her list of suspects, matching fictitious characters with flesh-and-blood men. But will it be too late to save the sister she only thought she knew?
As in A Conflict of Interest, the main characater in this legal crime thriller, Ella Broden, is a criminal defense attorney in Manhattan, just like Adam Mitzner who is an attorney in Manhattan himself. Because of Mitzner’s background and profession, the legal parts of the book which are sometimes quite challenging to follow but still interesting to read about make the story even more authentic and real. I also appreciate Mitzner explaining certain legal terms throughout the story. I don’t need to interrupt my reading time and do the research myself.
Mitzner came up with a really cool and great concept for this book. Ella Broden’s younger sister, Charlotte Broden, wrote a fictional novel which was more of a autobiography of her actual life, although she claimed otherwise. Mitzner not only mentioned Charlotte’s novel, the reader was able to read parts of it throughout the book, too. I really enjoyed reading about Ella and her trying to solve the missing’s persons case with the help of “only” a novel. Who would’ve thought that a novel would ever be an important trace in a criminal investigation.
The story’s concept also makes me wonder about many authors out there: how many of those fictional novels are really fiction and how much of it is actual real life?
Unfortunately, the story was slightly predictable because I figured out the ‘whodunnit’ after a little over the halfway mark although it was revealed much later into the story.
The pace of the story was just right. The short chapters and small cliffhangers after every few chapters made me turn the pages quickly. I just wanted to find out what happened to Charlotte. The book’s structure was also something I enjoyed: The break down of the chapters, the POV change and the switch to Charlotte’s novel were set at the right places and made the book even more suspenseful.
And have you guys seen the cover? It’s amazing! The written sentences on the cover are snippets from Charlotte’s novel.
Although Dead Certain is only my second novel by Adam Mitzner but I am really looking forward to reading more of him. In fact, Never Goodbye, his sixth novel, is my current read and I will hopefully publish my review of that next week. Stay tuned!