Thursday, January 29, 2009

Written in Blood by Sheila Lowe

Written in Blood by Sheila Lowe
Copyright 2008
Obsidian - Mystery
306 pages
Author's website

What led you to pick up this book? I'm not a big mystery fan but I like to toss one into the mix, now and then -- the more unique, the better. I thought the idea of a mystery with a forensic handwriting analyst as the heroine sounded fun and the reviews I read were all positive.

Describe the plot without giving anything away. Paige Sorenson runs an exclusive private school and is the widow of a much older man. After his stroke, Paige says her husband, Torg, signed a new will leaving everything to her; but, his children believe she has forged their father's signature. Paige hires Claudia Rose to analyze his signature to prove her case in court and then Claudia becomes personally involved when she meets young Annabelle, a troubled student at Sorenson Academy. When Annabelle and Paige disappear, Claudia jumps in to help. Can she figure out the mysterious disappearance by looking for clues in the handwriting of those who knew Paige?

Describe a favorite scene. I liked anything and everything that had specific information about handwriting analysis. It was absolutely fascinating and made me want to read up or take a class -- and I found myself trying to analyze my own handwriting, which is probably silly but awfully fun.

What did you think about the characters? I was particularly fond of Annabelle and I liked the fact that a lot of the characters surprised me, although I did figure out who was going to cause trouble before it happened, toward the end.

What did you like most about the book? Learning about handwriting analysis as well as some fun action scenes.

Was there anything you didn't like about the book? I didn't like all the sexual references and graphic sex scenes. And, like a lot of mysteries, the writing was good but nothing to rave about or reread. There were no beautiful sentences.

Recommended? Yes, I enjoyed this book and would like to read the first book in the series, Poison Pen, someday. I would say the book is not family friendly, due to some graphic sex scenes and references.

Anything else worth mentioning? I thought the book stood alone very well. There were occasional references to a previous mystery solved by Claudia but there was never any time that I felt lost. The only reason I would read them in order, if you're a series reader, is to find out how Claudia ended up in her current relationship with a policeman.

Cover thoughts: I love the cover, which is a montage of elements from the story (poker chips and dice, Las Vegas, a pen and some writing superimposed on what appears to be a poker table).

If you've read and reviewed this book and would like me to provide a link to your review, just let me know!

Up next: My drawing for a Magnificent Box of History Rocks. I'm quite anxious to get rid of a few more books because I'm keeping a running tally of books coming in and going out of this house . . . and right now I'm on the plus side. Not good.

Finished today: The Feast of Love by Charles Baxter. I hope to review The Feast of Love and the three graphic novels I've recently finished (in brief) very soon. And, then . . .

Oh, dear, a bit over my head. I signed up for a few too many book tours in February. Every single one of the books I've agreed to review looks fabulous and if I could, I'd read them all at once. But when you juggle too many books you tend to get bonked on the head. I'm actually in desperate need of an eye doctor appointment because my eyes are protesting all the reading I've been doing, lately.

This weekend I hope to finish The Coasts of Canada and review it, before diving into my February reads. I'm so excited that tomorrow is our marathon-training rest day. Right now, my muscles are screaming. And, I'm not even walking that far!! On the plus side, I am so happy to be back to walking in the local military park. It is absolutely beautiful. Today, I spotted 4 red-tail hawks while walking. Oh, do I wish I'd had my camera!!!

On that note . . . I'll try to get out with the camera and post some wahoos, soon. It's not my intent to completely abandon wahooing.

Happy, happy Friday!

Very content Bookfool with eyestrain and mega-sore thighs


  1. Happy Friday to you, too! I thought it would never get here!

    This sounds like an interesting book. I've always been intrigued by handwriting analysis.

    Diary of an Eccentric

  2. I've had the first one, Poisoned Pen, on my TBR list for quite some time. I love handwriting analysis information (haven't purposefully looked into it though) and think this series would be interesting.

  3. Anna,

    I know the feeling. I'm really enjoying the thought that today is a "rest day" from exercise. I've finally earned my day off! :)

    Handwriting analysis has always intrigued me, too. I don't think I've really read anything about it, apart from a little when I was working in a bookstore (I was allowed to read off the shelves, as long as I replaced everything in the same condition). It's fascinating and I enjoyed the mystery.


    I haven't really looked into it, either, apart from a little bit of reading a long time ago (but I don't own anything about handwriting analysis). I'll look forward to reading your review of Poison Pen. I looked up the reviews of Poison Pen before I got Written in Blood and it seems like people liked the second book better, but that might be a false memory. I noticed she's written a third book.

  4. Anonymous11:55 AM

    This is in my stacks, so I'm glad to see you liked it.

  5. I hope you like it, too, Kathy!

  6. Anonymous2:10 PM

    I've read Poisoned Pen and liked it, although the handwriting analysis sprinkled throughout the book is more compelling than the mystery. Cute fun reads. Written in Blood is in my TBR stacks.

    Your eyes hurt from reading too much? That's not something I'd ever expect to hear from you. ;)

  7. Carrie,

    That's about how I felt. I enjoyed the handwriting tidbits more than the mystery. It was fun reading, though. Since I'm not a big mystery buff, I'm not too picky about the mystery aspect.

    Yes, don't tell but I think I'm getting old and might need some reading glasses. Ugh. Hubby's had bifocals for a while, now, but I like to think that's just his aging problem and I'm exempt.

  8. Anonymous3:58 PM

    I won't tell you how old I was when I got my trifocals then....

  9. Carrie,

    Ack. I don't want to know!!

  10. I really like your review format - fun!
    I want to read this one but I think I'll start with the first one in the series first.

    Can't wait to see new wahoos! :)

  11. Iliana,

    Thank you! It may be a few days before I get some wahoos posted. I need a field trip to the zoo or something of that nature. The camera has been in its bag for weeks. So sad.

  12. I really liked the handwriting analysis bits too. My writing has gotten worse over the years. I'm curious what it would say about me. :P

  13. Nat,

    If you're like me, you're likely just getting sloppier because you don't get a lot of practice writing regularly. It probably doesn't say much about your personality. That is, of course, a wild guess. :)

  14. I read Written In Blood and enjoyed it as well. I haven't had a chance to pick up the first book yet but will eventually. Great review!

  15. Samantha,

    Thank you!

  16. Thanks for sharing this review. Interesting that this thriller has graphic sex scenes. I've yet to pick up one that does! :-P But point is, does it make sense for the book?

  17. I have this book on my TBR list too. The story sounds really exciting and I've never read anything about handwriting mysteries before. Can't wait to read it! Great review!

  18. I used to read almost exclusively thrillers and mysteries, but now I rarely seem to squeeze one it. Kind of a shame, because I do enjoy them. But at the same time, all you awesome book bloggers opened my eyes to worlds I'd never ventured into before, and I consider that a very good thing.
    This one sounds good, but before I go buying any more mysteries, I probably ought to work my way through the 100+ I still have left-over from the old days.

  19. Indigo,

    Not in my opinion. I thought the entire romantic aspect of this book was a little forced, but I'm not quite sure why. Maybe because Claudia's boyfriend was out-of-town most of the time. So when they were together, it seemed like they really just wanted to hop into bed and anything that got in the way was a big frustration for them. My thought was, "I don't care about that -- get back to the mystery." But, that's me. :)

    Claudia's best friend was kind of crass about sleeping around, also, and that annoyed me.


    I hope you enjoy it! I liked the handwriting bits the best.


    I used to read mysteries almost exclusively. I have a vivid memory of looking for a particular Anne Perry mystery at Books-a-Million and then drifting around and taking a chance on a fairly new writer by the name of Sue Grafton. I think she was on "B", at the time, and that was my starting point. At some point, I just burned out, but I like to read something different, now and then, and mysteries are good for mixing things up.


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