When she receives an email informing her that her twin sister is dead, Ava Antipova isn’t exactly filled with grief. To Ava, this sounds exactly like the sort of scheming she is used to from Zelda, the sister she has not seen for the past two years. Returning home in an attempt to unearth the truth, she soon finds herself on a scavenger hunt that has been set up by her ‘dead’ sister. With her family in a downward spiral, will Ava be able to discover the whereabouts of her missing sister?

I was initially drawn to this book by the cover and the premise of a mystery being solved by way of a scavenger hunt. Although this is being billed in some quarters as a ‘thriller’, I certainly would not agree – there is definitely an air of mystery but is more of a study of the main characters involved in the story. Despite this, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed Dead Letters and, although some of the plot lines could be predicted, there were enough clever twists to keep you guessing.

The Antipovas are a dysfunctional family of immense proportions: Nadine (Ava’s mother) is a divorcee suffering from early onset dementia; Marlon (Ava’s father) has a new family who seemingly want nothing to do with his children from his previous marriage and the missing sister, Zelda, is a drug user who will use anyone to help her achieve her aims. Is there any wonder Ava has escaped her past and started a new life in France?! Having a family winemaking business has not exactly helped either as they are all, as Ava admits, alcoholics. Although the characters are not exactly likeable, I did find myself feeling sympathy towards Ava’s plight as she was, once again, manipulated by her sister.

Dead Letters is a strong debut from the author and I look forward to reading her next offering.

With thanks to Atlantic Books and Readers First for my ARC.

 

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