EXCERPT: The man identifies himself as the county medical examiner. After we sit, he assumes the same forward-leaning angle as the counsellor. He withdraws two photographs from a file folder, asking me if they are of my wife, Patience Susan Addison. Here, in Martinsville County, Massachusetts, one doesn’t identify the corpse itself by looking at the body in a file cabinet tray, the way it works in TV shows and perhaps other jurisdictions.
The pictures are color printouts, four-by-fives. Maybe they’ve discovered that larger pictures are more likely to ignite hysteria.
I look at the heart-shaped face, her eyes closed, complexion understandably paler than when she was among the living. There are no scars or bruises. She died of a broken neck. A different camera angle would have revealed that, I know.
I regard a second photograph. The tattoo of a ginkgo leaf on her ankle.
‘Yes. That’s her.’
ABOUT ‘CAUSE OF DEATH’: Jon Talbot is a history professor who makes sense of the past by examining facts. He also knows how to speculate about the what-ifs. Jon’s doing both following the death of his wife, Pax. Driving home late from a volunteer assignment, she plunged off a mountain highway and died. The police find nothing suspicious about the facts: a deer in the road, a blown tire, a broken neck. But the what-ifs are leading Jon down a twisting trail of secrets. After five years of marriage, he is finally getting to know his wife.
MY THOUGHTS: Jeffery Deaver has written a gripping short story about a history professor investigating his wife’s death. Unusually for a short story, the main characters are really well fleshed out. Jon Talbot deals with life the same way he teaches history: in microscopic pieces. And he uses the same method to investigate the death of his wife, even though the police have ruled it accidental, when he discovers a few inconsistencies, such as a burner phone. Why would an aid worker need a burner phone?
Cause of Death is gripping, exciting, entertaining and tense. I enjoyed getting to know Jon, and through him, his wife.
A highly recommended one-sitting read.
I: @officialjefferydeaver #amazonoriginalstories
T: @JefferyDeaver #AmazonOriginalStories
#contemporaryfiction #crime #domesticdrama #mystery #shortstory
THE AUTHOR: Jeffery Deaver is an international number-one bestselling author. His novels have appeared on bestseller lists around the world. His books are sold in 150 countries and translated into twenty-five languages. He has served two terms as president of Mystery Writers of America, and was recently named a Grand Master of MWA, whose ranks include Agatha Christie, Ellery Queen, Mary Higgins Clark and Walter Mosely.
The author of more than forty novels, three collections of short stories and a nonfiction law book, and a lyricist of a country-western album, he’s received or been shortlisted for dozens of awards.
DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Amazon Original Stories via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Cause of Death by Jeffery Deaver for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.
For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com
This review and others are also published on Twitter, Instagram, Amazon and Goodreads.com