Published by Audible Studios, Thomas & Mercer on June 1st 2017
Genres: Psychological Thriller
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?
#Sisters #DoubleLives #Lawyers #Writers @adammitzner @theerinbennett @audible_com
Dead Certain by Adam Mitzner is a highly entertaining and cleverly written amalgam of literary devices. Literary device number one is a book within a book. Charlotte Broden is a writer who has just had her first book accepted for publication. She gives her sister Ella Broden a copy of the completed first half to read. When Charlotte goes missing, Ella begins reading Charlotte’s book for clues to her disappearance because Charlotte has a habit of including real-life events in her work. Literary device number two is the use of three narrators who all tell their parts of the story from first person POV. Regardless of how cumbersome that sounds, trust me, it works. The sisters Broden are both leading double lives and I think it is entirely appropriate for them to tell their stories as if they are having a conversation with the listener. To hear about the lives they’re living in their own words does away with the unintentional judgmental language that can sometimes be found with third person POV. We are much more into Ella’s head throughout the book since we only have one scene with Charlotte before she disappears. In Charlotte’s case, she tells us about her double life (or is it a triple life?) through her prose. Enter narrator number three who totally blindsided me. I was already congratulating myself on nailing the villain when this person shows up. There is a twist upon a twist concerning that villain (yes, there is more than one villain!) which I’ll call literary device number three and it almost made me fall off my treadmill! I’m going to intentionally leave you dangling here because to say more might lead to spoilers and I want each of you to have the same “Aha!” moment I had.
Erin Bennett’s interpretation of the characters is perfect. Charlotte’s voice is coquettish which is exactly as I pictured her, while Ella’s is grown-up and matter-of-fact with a slight dark edginess when she puts on her alter-ego. Detective Gabriel Gonzales’ voice is reassuring with sultry overtones and the villain is pure psycho.
Dead Certain is engrossing, realistic, and character driven. This is one of those books that I think is undoubtedly enhanced by the narrator’s performance of complex characters leading complicated lives. Dead Certain comes to a satisfying conclusion from my perspective, but I understand there is to be a sequel entitled Never Goodbye coming in April of this year so I’m assuming the author still has more to tell us.