Rachel Goldman writes books featuring Duffy Madison, a detective consultant to the local D.A.’s office who specializes in missing person cases in E. J. Copperman’s Written Off. Just as Rachel concludes the first draft of her latest novel, she gets a phone call asking for help with a missing person case. The caller tells Rachel that he is Duffy Madison, making her decide the man is a crank, an opinion reinforced by the man when he shows up at Rachel’s book signing the next day, telling her that he is a missing person consultant at a local D.A.’s office.
The next day Rachel visits the D.A. office, only to learn that Duffy Madison actually does work as a consultant for them. She also learns that the missing woman is a fellow mystery writer, considered the nicest writer of cozy mysteries. Thus Rachel gets involved in the search for the writer, helping the investigators gain a better understanding of the mind of a writer. But what is up with Duffy Madison? He actually believes that he is the creation of Rachel, with no memories before four years earlier, when Rachel created her own Duffy.
This book is creative in being narrated by the author of a mystery. I really enjoyed hearing the perspectives of a mystery author and the writing process. For example, Rachel explains that there are two different styles of authors. One plots out every detail in outlines and extensive notes before ever putting a word in the computer. The other, a “pantser,” flies by the seat of her pants in writing without knowing for sure where she is going. I enjoyed Rachel’s explanation of cozy mysteries. They contain toned down language and less gore, but especially no graphic sex. As she said, you can kill off anyone but the cat, but absolutely no schlepping!
This book is narrated by Amanda Ronconi, who gets into the character of Rachel and makes the book fun to listen to.
Written Off is a fun cozy mystery, with an extra hint of mystery over the character of Duffy. I really enjoyed this book and recommend it to anyone but especially those who are interested in books and find the process of writing fiction, in particular mysteries, of interest. I give the book five stars.
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