cover image Dead Certain

Dead Certain

Adam Mitzner. Thomas & Mercer, $15.95 trade paper (348p) ISBN 978-1-4778-2259-3

The changes death prompts in survivors is at the core of this ambitious if flawed crime novel from Mitzner (The Girl from Home). Ella Broden, a lawyer in the top-drawer New York City criminal defense firm run by her father, is unhappy with her work. She wishes she possessed the bravery of her younger sister, Charlotte, who’s studying creative writing. Ella’s dream, indulged on occasional nights, is to pursue a singing career. Then Charlotte disappears, leaving behind half a manuscript predicting her own death. Ella is unwilling to leave the investigation entirely to the police. The manuscript calls to mind that publishing industry cliché, the young person’s novel that’s a thinly disguised account of his or her own life. The inclusion of Charlotte’s manuscript, a section at a time, draws on another literary device with a long history; think “The Murder of Gonzago” presented within Hamlet. Unfortunately, this book is long on such devices and short on believable characters readers might care about. [em]Agent: Scott Miller, Trident Media Group. (June) [/em]