The Fifteenth Letter
Karen Wiesner, Chris Spindler
Swimming Kangaroo Books
Once again Karen Wiesner and Chris Spindler’s police procedural, „The Fifteenth Letter“, conveys the reader to Falcon’s Bend where twenty four year old Patrol Officer Amber Carfi and her partner
Warren Jensen, who is a decade older, have been working the Christmas holiday to allow those having families time at home.
The pair has no yearning for spending holidays home and alone. Jensen has not quite recovered from the death of his wife. It was 4 years ago that Jen died due to ovarian cancer. Carfi is not certain how she feels regarding her father’s impending parole hearing.
Abruptly the crackle of the car radio jars them back to reality, a bank robbery is in progress.
From that opening the reader is initiated into a mystery filled with distrust, expectation, death, aspiration, tracking devices, pandemonium, abduction and trepidation. A diary, deliberately aged to create the appearance that it is older than it is, kidnapping, torment, an assortment of stolen maps, bank thefts, and even romance are all included on the pages of Wiesner and Spindler’s „The Fifteenth Letter“.
Back in 1989, Nelson Salim and Zeke Carfi, associates in business, partners in crime, entered a bank intending to rob it according to Zeke’s -fool proof- plan. In the getaway car waited Salim’s wife Serena along with their son Roman.
Sometimes even the best laid plans do go awry, that is what happened in 1989. When Nelson pointed his pistol at the bank manager, Zeke had to intercede.
Within minutes Nelson lay dead and Zeke was sent to prison.
Every year, on the anniversary of his partner’s death, Zeke has been receiving a threatening letter signed by the man’s wife. He has not opened the letters except for the first two. No need, they all read the same; threats and anger that Nelson is dead and Zeke is not. What Zeke does not know is that Serena too has been dead for years.
So who is sending those hate filled letters?
Ahead of Zeke and his wife Violet divorcing, Zeke all but lost real contact with his only child Amber. How the pair enjoyed working together to create secret codes and puzzles and unworkable designs. Zeke’s affinity for puzzles culminates in the assembly of a globe he and Amber designed before the divorce.
In due time, Zeke Carfi does receive his parole and is sent to Falcon’s Bend in anticipation that Carfi’s being near his police officer daughter may perhaps help him reside outside prison more successfully.
Amber is torn between the affection she feels for her father, and the powerless childlike fury she harbors because he was so thoughtless as to take part in serial robberies; with the last one eventually sending him to prison. Zeke, with the smugness of a master criminal, actually penned his faultless robbery plan in a diary along with sheets bearing a series of inexplicable numbers and letters.
Amber received the diary from her father years ago, however she put it away, and has never taken a peek at it. Her emotions remain too raw.
Amber’s police sense has kicked in, she has no idea why or who nevertheless; someone has been in her house. Warren Jensen is resolute in his purpose to look after his partner and woman he finds himself becoming more attracted to.
Overflowing with energy, joie de vivre and air of mystery, „The Fifteenth Letter“ is a commendable account transporting the reader along on a breathless ride. That authors, Wiesner and Spindler, reinforce each other's writing approach is unmistakable, transitions are faultless, characters are abundantly developed, settings are detailed to draw the reader into the sequence of events, storyline is plausible and emotions exhibit are believable.
Wiesner and Spindler’s „The Fifteenth Letter“ conveys an exhilarating many-sided page turner offering readers all the excitement and conundrum they may look forward to when reading an edgy police procedural mystery.
That puzzling globe, along with the group of maps, menace, more than one stray bullet, and even the commencement of a romance are all combined into one rousing chronicle. Watch the red herrings!
Happy to recommend Wiesner and Spindler’s „The Fifteenth Letter“ for those who take pleasure in a good mystery well done, and in particular for those who have a preference for police procedurals.
While I do not keep all the books I receive for review, this is one that I will be keeping on my own library shelf.