Written Off (Mysterious Detective #1) by E.J. Copperman (Crooked Lane Books hardcover, 14 June 2016).
Rachel Goldman is a full-time mystery writer whose protagonist is a police consultant named Duffy Madison. After publishing three books in the series, she's successful enough that she doesn't need a day job, and is the process of working on the fifth.
Just as she's saved the first draft of Alive and Buried to the hard drive, she receives a phone call on her landline. The caller identifies himself as Duffy Madison, a consultant with the Bergen County (NJ) Prosecutor's Office, and tells her he needs to meet with her as soon as possible on a matter of life and death.
Rachel is understandable skeptical; the caller has to be a crack-pot. The fact that he assures her that he isn't crazy just makes Rachel more certain that he is.
After ending the call, it slips Rachel's mind completely. It's not until she's signing books at the launch for the fourth in the series (How to Vanish Without a Trace) that she remembers.
This is because the last person in the signing line identifies himself as Duffy Madison and asks for her help in solving the disappearance of a Bergen County woman.
What really throws Rachel, though, is the man's claim that he is the character from her novels, and that she created him. He explains that he started working with the Bergen County authorities four years earlier (about the time that the Rachel's first novel was published), and has no memory of anything before that.
Rachel is intrigued enough to investigate, and determines that his story is true. She still feels somewhat uncertain about how she could possibly assist, until she receives a threatening email. At that point, it becomes personal, and she agrees to help Duffy.
The story that had been interesting suddenly jumps to absolutely gripping, and I kept telling myself I'd read "just one more chapter" until I reached the end of the book.
Where will Rachel and Duffy's story go next? Is it really true that he's her character come to life?
There's only one way to find out...
The publisher has generously offered a copy of Written Off to one of my readers. Please comment below before 12:01 a.m. on June 27, 2016. Entries from the US only, please.
Please don't forget to include an email address where I can contact you if you win!
FTC Full Disclosure: Many thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy of this book.