Dead Letters: A Novel
By Caite Dolan-Leach
When her twin sister Zelda vanishes right after the barn in which she spent much of her days burns down, everyone except Ava Antipova fears the worst. Even though it has been two years since Ava last saw Zelda, Ava can’t believe Zelda is really dead especially once Ava arrives back at the family farm/winery in the Finger Lakes region of New York and begins receiving emailed letters from Zelda inviting her to “play” her latest game of hide and seek. Now stuck trying to deal with an alcoholic mother slowly slipping away into dementia, a father who traded up for a new and improved second family, and old boyfriend who seems to have been keeping very busy with Zelda while Ava was gone, Ava begins trying to decode the letters Zelda sends in that hopes that she may be able to not only discover exactly what happened to her sister but also what that means for her own future.
Readers will find themselves absolutely mesmerized by this stunning debut that brilliantly mixes the fiendishly clever plot twists and can-she-be-trusted kind of narration found in Gone Girl and its many recent literary clones with the nuanced characterization and elegant writing style of someone like Donna Tartt. Fans of sophisticated, polished suspense will definitely consider Dolan-Leach's book to be one of the best literary finds of 2017.
John Charles, ReaderToReader.com