Published June 14th 2016 by Crooked Lane Books
Synopsis: Rachel Goldman writes mysteries in which Duffy Madison, consultant to the county prosecutor’s office, helps find missing persons. Rachel is busy finishing up her next book, when a man calls out of the blue asking for help in a missing persons case. The caller’s name? Duffy Madison.
Is this real or has she lost her mind? She doesn’t have much time to find out because a serial killer is on the loose, kidnapping and murdering mystery authors. And Rachel may just be the next target.
Full of uncanny intrigue and witty humor, E.J. Copperman’s imaginative series debut Written Off is sure to be a favorite amongst Copperman’s many fans new and old.
My Review: This is a twist on the traditional protaganist finding a dead body and trying to solve the crime. Rachel Goldman is an author who writes about a fictional consultant to the New Jersey County prosecutor’s office. Duffy Madison is a humourless, stiff, logical investigator who Rachel made up. He works with the prosecutor solving missing person cases. She has just completed the first draft of the fifth book in her Duffy Madison mystery series and is at a book signing for one of her previous books when she is approached my a man claiming to be Duffy Madison. He tells her he needs her help. She automatically assumes he’s a nutcase, especially when he tells her that he believes she made him up. He has no memory going any further back than four years, at the time when she started her series. He is a consultant to Bergen County and he is looking for a missing woman, time is of the essence. When Rachel finds out that she knows the woman, that this is the fourth missing woman that fits the profile and that they were all mystery writers, she reluctantly gets involved in the case. Is she also in danger? Who is Duffy Madison? Do they find the missing writer?
This brings back memories of one of my favourite television shows that I watched growing up, Remington Steel. The premise is similar but different. In the show, the owner of a detective agency names it Remington Steel because she does not think anyone would hire a woman. When a handsome gentleman shows up claiming he is Remington Steel, they form an uncomfortable alliance. This book has a similar situation, but it is the fictional detective that searches our the author to help him out. I am looking forward to the next book in this series to see where E.J. Copperman takes our characters. Rachel needs to continue writing as that is her source of income, so how will she work with Duffy? The characters will need some more fleshing out in future stories. I enjoyed meeting her assistant who does a lot of the digging via computers. I think she will definitely play an important part in further mysteries. Rachel’s dad was a hoot. He showed up at her doorstep when she did not call him at the appointed time, even though he did not try to call her. They have a loving and helpful relationship.
Written Off is a fun mystery. I liked that Rachel doesn’t know what’s actually happening. She doesn’t know who to trust so she uses her own skills as a mystery writer, and the research skills of her assistant, to dig for answers. She has a burgeoning relationship with Duffy’s boss but we will see if that develops further in the next book. The mystery kept me guessing until the very end and I finally figured out who the killer was, seconds before it was revealed. If you enjoy light, humorous, and intriguing mysteries, check out E.J. Copperman’s Written Off. I am waiting for the next one in this series. A 4.5 star read for me.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.