- Title: Dead Letters
- Author: Caite Dolan-Leach
- Genre: Mystery & Suspense
- Structure: Linear first-person narration
- First Line: “A born creator of myths, my sister always liked to tell the story of how we were misnamed.”
If I’m being honest, this book is “eh”. It’s average. I will list out a couple things I liked about it below as per usual! However, I’m not sure if it would have been at the top of my list.
- This is a debut novel. As I was saying above, it’s average. I wasn’t in love with the storyline (see below), but I did love Dolan-Leach’s writing. I think the author is a magnificent and down-to-earth writer. I’d be willing to read more of her books in the future, for sure.
- It was exciting for me, as the reader, to figure out the game! Honestly, this is not one of those “scary” mystery thrillers, but rather more of a mind game. I love books with a twist like that so it was fun for me to figure it out! I don’t want to spoil anything, so you all will have to figure it out for yourself!
- I will say the ending was a surprise, but I think it stayed true to the book. I think one of the main premises of the novel was “nothing is at it seems” and Dolan-Leach stayed right on that path. I was totally convinced it was going to end a different way, so I was surprised when it took a turn! I wouldn’t say I’m “glad” about it taking a turn (honestly, any turn would have been a nightmare), but I am glad that she caught me off guard! I think that’s what makes for a good thriller.
- Lastly, I do like how the author played with the two main characters. Given that they were identical twins, I loved that the author made them distinct individuals, but allowed them to slip between the lines of reacting in a way that was typical for the other twin. It was interesting to watch it happen in subtle ways throughout the book.
I kept waiting for there to be a new twist on the overdone “identical twins, one lives, one dies, is the dead one really dead?” tale, but I felt like there wasn’t anything huge. The stakes weren’t high enough. Where I felt Dolan-Leach was going to push the envelope, up the stakes, and go down the twisty road, she would avoid it and take the more typical path. I think that was the most disappointing for me. This novel really had potential to set the bar high for future mysteries, but I think it settled into the “safe zone”: good enough, but not all that it could be.
This isn’t a dealbreaker for me, but it certainly is for some people. I did not like any of the characters. I’m all for characters having flaws. However, there wasn’t a single one that I could even fall in like with. Major bummer for me, but not a dealbreaker.
As per usual, I’ll let you know if there’s any profanity to look out for in case you’re sensitive (or someone you know). There is some profanity and a display of alcoholism. As always, these things don’t bother me in the least, but I do know some that would want to be aware of it.
THE SWEET SPOTS
In this section, I cover some of my deeper, personal thoughts. Books are meant to make you think. I always think the best books are the ones that help you discover pieces of yourself.
- Did this book remind you of anything that has happened to you?: Well, considering I don’t have an identical twin sister, it was a little hard to connect to this book. I did have a father who liked to pull disappearing acts, but the book wasn’t really centered on that aspect of the story.
- Did this book give you any new ideas of yourself?: I think it taught me to be bolder. A lot of the heartache in the book wouldn’t have happened if the characters weren’t so codependent on each other. I think we all have a tendency to lean towards codependency (I know myself, especially), and it’s amazing to see what would and could happen if we just let go.
- What lesson did you learn?: Things are never as they seem. Be patient and wait to see what answers arise because it’s rarely ever the first answer. Life is not always as obvious as we think it is.
To summarize, I thought this was a good book. If you’re not a mystery-thriller buff, then don’t start here. Go find some other great mystery novels. However, if you’re well into that world, you may like this one. In fact, I know many who did enjoy this book. For a first novel, this is a pretty good attempt. I think we can expect some great works from Caite Dolan-Leach in her future works, but I don’t think this will be one of them mainly because the storyline stayed in the “safe zone”. If I had to give it stars, I’d probably rate it a 3/5.
GET YOUR COPY HERE!
I received Dead Letters from the Book of the Month Club for March 2017. It was so great to receive personalized book recommendations at my doorstep! Honestly, I’m not sure if I would’ve picked up and experienced Dead Letters if it wasn’t for BOTM. You can join the club here for under $20 a month!
*Thank you Book of the Month Club for sponsoring this. All opinions are my own.