Thursday, April 23, 2009

Review-- Poison Pen

Title: Poison Pen
Author: Sheila Lowe
ISBN: 9780977627608/ Capital Crime Press, 2007
Genre: Mystery, #1 Claudia Rose Forensic Handwriting
Rating: B

First Line: "No, girlfrien'."

Publicist-to-the-stars Lindsey Alexander was ruthless. She was a backstabber. She was a manipulator of the first degree. When her nude body is found in a Jacuzzi with a suicide note nearby, former friend Claudia Rose is dumbfounded. Lindsey is the last person she would expect to commit suicide. Lindsey just had too much fun making other people suffer. When Lindsey's business manager hires Claudia to prove that Lindsey did not write the suicide note, the forensic handwriting expert finds herself up to her eyeballs in danger.

Although I sometimes have a tough time reading a book that centers around a thoroughly nasty murder victim, I had no problem turning the pages of Poison Pen. There are several reasons for this. One, I've been interested in handwriting analysis since I was in the eighth grade and helped my English teacher grade handwritten papers. (I was the only person who could read one particular student's handwriting.) As I read each person's paper, I began to pair certain characteristics of their writing to their personalities. I still do that today, although handwriting can certainly be much more difficult to find! Now that you know this, it would be easy for you to surmise that I enjoyed the fact that Claudia Rose is a forensic handwriting expert.

I also liked the fast pace of the book and the setting of southern California, but to me the best part of the book was Lowe's characterizations. I liked Claudia Rose. This character has just the right blend of intelligence, naivete, and willingness to take a risk. She also has a smart mouth from time to time, which is a plus. (At least to me!)

I don't know how many times I've read scenes when the amateur sleuth is being grilled by the police, and I've wanted to add my own smart-mouth commentary. I didn't have to when I read this book:

She rolled her eyes. "Have you seen the amount of blood in there, Columbo?"

"You know, Ms. Rose, you might want to consider changing your attitude. At the very least, you're a witness at a serious crime, and I expect you to explain yourself, not smart off."

Claudia stared at him.

You go, girl! Don't back down! (She didn't.) Fast pace, good setting, interesting occupation, excellent characters, and a killer who isn't easily guessed...I'm already looking for the next book in this series, Written in Blood!


  1. Oh I like the strong sassy Ms. Rose!! I'll have to check into this, but really, how am ever going to make a dent in a wish list that goes two steps bigger to every one step smaller?

  2. Oh I know what you mean! When the victim was a total jerk honestly I always think "who cares?" Unless it somehow effects a character I do like then why should I care about the murder being solved?

    Okay, this is going on my list! Love a smart aleck sleuth!

  3. Sounds very interesting :) great review!!

    Anyways I was passing through to let you know you have an award waiting.. please pick it up here :)

  4. This is the kind of review I like to read and wish I could write. As a potential reader I like knowing about the plot and especially the characters. But I also like knowing the extras - the smart dialogue, the setting, the pace. Thanks. I want to read this book.

  5. I love the proliferation of forensic novels and TV shows. Although I'm not one for the violence, I really enjoy trying to work out who dunnit, and seeing how profilers etc work.

  6. I never read this one, but I did read (and review) the sequel - I thought it was a fun read.

  7. nice review Cathy. I've added another title to my wishlist.

  8. Sounds like a great book! Thanks for posting the review.

  9. that columbo line is CLASSIC. sounds like someone i'd like to hang out with (or read!). thanks for the review...i enjoyed it and now have another series to add to my ever-growing stack.

  10. I get scared coming here sometimes, Cathy. I love your taste in mysteries. This is another series I hadn't heard of before that looks so good!

  11. Beth--I have the exact same problem!

    Jen--I'm glad I'm not the only one who appreciates a smart aleck!

    Desert Rose--Thanks so much for the award! I saw your post about it in my reader and have already made my announcement. One can never have too many Zombie Chickens! :)

    Margot--I'm glad you liked the review. I hope you get a chance to read this book and enjoy it as much as I did! :)

    Susan--I can take the violence as long as the author doesn't seem to be enjoying it too much or laying it on too thick, but what I enjoy the most is seeing experts at work trying to put the evidence and the clues together.

    Lorin--I'm glad you enjoyed the sequel. I'm looking forward to reading it myself!

    Bernadette--If postage didn't cost so much, I'd be more than willing to let you have my copy!

    LuAnn--You're welcome!

    Natalie--I'm glad you liked the review, and I hope you get a chance to read the book and enjoy it as much as I did!

    Belle--Please don't get so scared that you don't come back!


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