book review

Dead Letters by Caite Dolan-Leach


Title: Dead Letters

Author: Caite Dolan-Leach

Pages: 332

Publisher: Random House

Publication Date: February 21, 2017

Genre: Mystery

Rating: 3/5

Ava doesn’t believe it when the email arrives to say that her twin sister is dead. It’s not grief or denial that causes her scepticism – it just feels too perfect to be anything other than Zelda’s usual manipulative scheming. And Ava knows her twin.

Two years after she left, vowing never to speak to Zelda again after the ultimate betrayal, Ava must return home to retrace her errant sister’s last steps. She soon finds notes that lead her on a twisted scavenger-hunt of her twin’s making.

Letter by letter, Ava unearths clues to her sister’s disappearance: and unveils harrowing truths of her own. A is for Ava, and Z is for Zelda, but deciphering the letters in-between is not so simple…


This book had a premise that I absolutely love. The whole thing involving letters from her sister while she is missing gave me serious Pretty Little Liar (season 1-4) vibes and I knew that I had to buy this book. Unfortunately, this book fells short on delivering what I was hoping for but it was still a really solid debut novel and I can’t wait to read more from this author in the future.

This book was pretty fast paced and the mystery kept me hooked but all the unnecessary tangents the main character, Ava, goes on in her head started to really annoy me. This book could easily have cut 30 or more pages out and not lost any of the story. Most of Ava’s inner monologue was her thoughts and opinions on random things and it ended up feeling like the author’s ideas and opinions on things.

I also had a hard time connecting with the characters. None of them were particularly likable but I also don’t think they were meant to be. My problem was more that I didn’t really care how the characters ended up. I think that may have been due to the author not having a good way to transition into the next letter. So, sometimes Ava would be doing the most random things completely out of the blue so that the author could have it lead to her finding the next letter. This would take me out of the story and I would just be thinking this girl is so dumb and other times I would think she was being so callous. Instead of Ava’s character having a set kind of characteristics her character became a plot tool to move the story along.

I also really didn’t like the ending. The ending left me wanting so much more and I really felt like it was going to build to some kind of resolution but instead it just fell flat. I did like the journey to get to the end though so I still think this is a decent mystery. I do want to give a trigger warning for alcohol abuse because a majority of the characters are alcoholics who run a winery so there is almost constant talk of it. Also, the characters don’t seem to care that they are alcoholics which I think could be really harmful for some so please be aware of that going into it.

The author, Dolan-Leach, has a new book coming out July 2 and I am so excited for it. It is another book where the synopsis sounds right up my alley. I am going to link it here for you to check it out if you are interested. If you are a fan of mysteries I highly recommend you check out this author’s work.




3 thoughts on “Dead Letters by Caite Dolan-Leach

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