Book Review: Dead Certain by Adam Mitzner

by - 6:46:00 PM

Title: Dead Certain
Author: Adam Mitzner
Pages: 348
Genre: Adult Mystery/Thriller
Release Date: 01 June 2017
From Goodreads: "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?"

Thank you to Ashley Vanicek and Thomas & Mercer for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for review! All opinions are my own.

I really never thought I'd say that I enjoyed a book that could be classified as a legal thriller. And really, this isn't exactly a legal thriller, but more so a thriller that has lawyer characters in it. Dead Certain was unique and thrilling and Adam Mitzner has certainly captured my interest as an author.

This story follows Ella Broden, a lawyer living a double life that no one else knows about. Her sister Charlotte has just shared the news that she's sold her first novel and Ella couldn't be more thrilled. That is, until she gets a call that Charlotte is missing. Nothing makes sense until Ella starts reading Charlotte's novel and realizes that it may contain the details of Charlotte's real-life affairs. Any one of her lovers could be involved and Ella desperately searches to match the fictitious characters to the real ones and solve the mystery before it's too late.

Dead Certain had a very interesting format and way of unfolding its plot. You get the initial plot of Charlotte going missing and Ella beginning to search for her, and then it switches over to chapters of Charlotte's book. I wasn't sure at first how the change in perspective would be, but getting to read bits of Charlotte's story while reading about Ella trying to find her was actually really cool! It definitely got me thinking as to which guy, if any, was the one that caused her disappearance, but never gave anything away directly. There was also a third point of view that we got that honestly had me jump out of my chair, book in hand, screaming "NO WAY!" when I found out who it was. It was such an unexpected twist that took me by such surprise I had no choice but to audibly express my feelings at the time. There was a bit of repetition in that section of the book, but it didn't bother me in the slightest. I got to see a side that I hadn't previously gotten to see, and saw reactions that I never thought I'd get to see. It's very vague, but I can't say much without giving away the crazy good twist that's in this book! Honestly, I loved the plot and how the author went about delivering it. It was a slow build-up that has the reader guessing up until all is revealed. And then, if you're like me, you're jumping out of your chair at two in the morning screaming about how you can't believe it.

I thought Ella was a great character to follow. I enjoyed how different she was from her sister and I also think that her being so different was beneficial. She was able to use not only the skills she had as a lawyer, but also from working in the DA's office for so many years. Where Charlotte was more of a free spirit and kind of just doing what she wanted, Ella tried to be more practical and do what she thought she was supposed to do. She did have the secret singer life, but I didn't feel it was all that relevant since it's only really addressed once. Ella was very smart and protective of her sister and I think that while that may have been good, it also lead her to make rash decisions based on feeling rather than complete fact. She did accuse several people of having hurt her sister but never really had any concrete evidence. However, I can understand why she did that, so I wasn't too upset over it. I really enjoyed how determined she was to find her sister because I think that a huge part of solving the mystery was due to her determination. She was smart, and strong, and a character that I truly enjoyed reading about.

I enjoyed the other characters outside of Charlotte as well, especially the father. One thing that I appreciated was the change in the father that happens throughout the book. At first, you're introduced to him as a semi-popular lawyer that's tough and does whatever it takes to get the job done. Ella and Charlotte tend to not divulge information to him much regarding their personal lives likely due to his job and how he behaves. You're also told that when Ella and Charlotte's mother passed away, he basically buried himself in his work and didn't grieve or anything like that. You basically get the impression that he's a cold person who is really only a father in name and not in his actions. But when Charlotte disappears, he becomes a completely different person. He's hardly in the office anymore, he's disheveled and out of sorts, not keeping up with his looks as much. You could really tell that the potential loss of his daughter hit him hard and this time, he was allowing himself to experience that instead of trying to get lost in his work again. There was just something about his character change as the book went on that I really appreciated and I had to comment on how much I enjoyed it. It was very real and added a deeper level to the story than it just being about Ella looking for her sister. It showed that this one girl disappearing was affecting several people, and it allowed you to see how if affected each person differently. The father just stood out to me the most and I think his character development was the one I enjoyed out of everyone.

I do want to address something that I've seen in several reviews regarding this book being incredibly pornographic/filled with sex. Charlotte did have multiple partners in this book, but there were never any incredibly graphic scenes involving her and someone else. Nothing was ever gone into extreme detail to where I would consider this being pornographic in any sense of the word. There were a few instances where Charlotte was with someone, but it was never described in detail to where I could easily picture it in my head and say that this was graphic. Ella also had one encounter with someone in this book, but again, not detailed in the slightest. I don't want anyone to be put off by the idea that this might be a book filled with characters that just sleep around and are only concerned with sex or anything like that. This is a great thriller that may have scenes of intimacy, but nothing that could be considered pornographic. To be honest, I don't even know where those comments came from, but I never encountered anything like that, and I don't want people to not pick up this book for fear of it being filled with nothing but sex scenes and slutty characters.

The writing of this book definitely kept me interested and turning the pages until all hours of the night. I honestly sat up reading by the light of my computer monitor to get this book finished because I was so into this story! It unfolded at a pretty decent pace and revealed the twist kind of out of nowhere, which I thought was perfect. You're reading the book and out of nowhere, you're hit with something that makes you go, "Wait what?" I love books that do that, and I don't get to read them very often, so I was really excited when it happened with Dead Certain. The writing was really easy to read and very enjoyable and I think it has the right amount of suspense to keep you turning the pages until the end!

Dead Certain is a great thriller that has easy to read writing, a plot that keeps you guessing, and a twist that you truly won't see coming. If you're looking for a book that is sure to have you sitting up late at night trying to find out what happens to the characters, then this is the book for you!

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  1. I love books that have a main focus on mysteries and characters who are in the field of law. They're definitely a favorite of mine. This sounds so amazing I had to add it to my TBR shelf instantly. Thanks so much for the review and putting this on my radar. Can't wait to read it when I get my hands on it.

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my review! I really loved the law aspect of this book, even if it wasn't the main focus. I was actually able to learn a thing or two from Ella and her father talking about a case! The author really seems to have taken the time to make it easy for those who are unfamiliar with the field of law to understand what is happening and I thought that was such a great part of this book! Please let me know what your thoughts are when you're able to read it! :D