DEAD LETTERS Written by Caite Dolan-Leach
2016; 352 Pages (Random House)
Genre: literary fiction
I was sold with the synopsis starting as “sharp and clever debut novel of suspense”. Right away I clicked on the “request” button at the library. With debut authors, I will always give a bit of slack when it comes to the story line as this is their first novel. Before my hold came in I happened upon a fellow blogger’s review (a blogger who loves the suspense/mystery/thriller genre as much as I do) on this book. I saw her warning that this novel was in fact, not a true suspense mystery but more of a literary fiction. I decided to still read the book when it came in, but kept her warning in mind.
Ava and Zelda are identical twins and have not spoken in two years, when Ava ran off to France for grad school. When Ava finds out that Zelda has died in a fire, she comes home to deal with…everything she ran away from. Her mother’s alcoholism has led to her becoming more unstable, her father’s abandonment for another family, her own sister’s drinking and betrayal, and finally her feelings for her ex-boyfriend.
There is a slight mystery in this book, but it’s not really interesting in the sense there is no suspense. None of the characters are likeable which is not a big deal as long as the story is strong and/or you can relate or care for the characters in some way. Even with my literary lens on, I could not get into this one. This book also touted that it was a “thriller about a dysfunctional family” but I found that they were just selfish rather than a flawed but interesting characters. I did finish this book despite wanting to abandon ship a few times. I stayed in for the long haul because I wanted to think there was going to be something coming ahead that would turn this book around.