Forensic handwriting experts and religious cults are not exactly a natural combination. In this mystery novel, the expert is Claudia Rose and the religious cult is the Temple of the Brighter Light. Claudia’s childhood friend Kelly seeks her assistance in determining whether the father of her exquisite toddler niece, Kylie, has kidnapped his daughter. A warning note was left for the toddler’s mom who happens to be Kelly’s estranged half-sister. These are folks who have had their share of family squabbles and trouble over the years. Claudia must decide what is fact and what is smokescreen.
Author Sheila Lowe just happens to be an expert in handwriting analysis; therefore, the thriller is loaded with fascinating information one assumes to be accurate. The reader can’t help sneaking peaks at the writing of friends and family wondering if there are clues to deeper meaning in their scribbles. The psychological implications that accompany an analysis are used to explain the strange and confusing behavior of the folks who populate this tale.
This novel is filled with enough scary ideas and erratic actions to make it a page-turner. Lowe’s mastery at describing subtle character aspects brings doubt and confusion to the reader who is tracking Claudia Rose’s progress in solving the mystery of Kylie’s disappearance. To make matters worse, the threat of a religious sacrifice on the toddler’s third birthday puts a painful edge on the heart-wrenching tale.
Last Writes is more than a thriller, it is a morality tale designed for readers who are not afraid to look into the dark side of religious communal living. Recommended to those who are up for the challenge.
This review was written by Ruta Arellano. A review copy was received from the publisher.