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Reviewed by Lit Amri for Readers' Favorite
When real estate broker James Abbott finds Lacey－ his wife and mother of his three children － dead in their bathtub, the cops tag him as the likely suspect. His colleague Ava O’Neill believes that he’s innocent and does her own investigation with help from her former FBI forensic scientist aunt. They discover clues that lead to damaging secrets and lies that several individuals, including James, try hard to hide.
Letters From The Dead is the first instalment in the Ava O'Neill Mystery series by Kristi Torkildson. Set in Dallas, Texas, the story starts in medias res where cops, paramedics, and firemen swarm over the front lawn of the Abbotts in the middle of the night. It’s a nice hook to get any reader’s attention and I like how the first person POVs of the characters form the narration. Protagonist Ava’s quirky use of certain words is endearing at times and I gravitated towards the POV of the victim herself, Lacey Abbott, and Courtney Adams, the Abbots’ 21-year-old nanny.
It’s an engaging mystery crime with clever red herrings, although the truth about the murders is unexpected. It's quite a diversion from what I had in mind when trying to connect all the dots from the beginning. I also had to slightly suspend my disbelief with how the cops allow two of the characters to work closely with them on the case. That said, it works for the story and the development of the plot. Overall, Letters From The Dead is a solid start to the series from Torkildson.