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Summary

Sheila Lowe “wins readers over with her well-developed heroine and the wealth of fascinating detail” (Booklist) in this captivating mystery set in Hollywood, where forensic handwriting expert Claudia Rose knows that despite the words it forms, a pen will always write the truth.

Before her body is found floating in her jacuzzi, publicist to the stars Lindsey Alexander had few friends, but plenty of lovers. To her ex-friend Claudia, she was a ruthless, backstabbing manipulator. But even Claudia is shocked by Lindsey’s startling final note: It was fun while it lasted.

It would be easier on the police - and Claudia - to write off Lindsey’s death as suicide, but Claudia’s instincts push her to investigate further, and she quickly finds herself entangled in a far darker scenario than she had anticipated. Racing to identify the killer, Claudia soon has a price on her head. Unless she can read the handwriting on the wall, she will become the next victim.

"The well - paced plot develops from uneasy suspicions to tightly wound action." (Front Street)

©2016 Sheila Lowe (P)2022 Sheila Lowe

What listeners say about Poison Pen

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Completely different but really good

This was completely different to what I am used to in respect of the plot device - analysing hand writing (have no idea what they would think of my mess).

It was really interesting and as the story developed it became more and more intriguing and I needed to finish.

I did struggle a bit with the narration to start off with but it worked and all in all really enjoyed it.

I was given a free copy by the author but the review is entirely my own.

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Great story

I love crime thrillers, mysteries and forensics fiction as long as the main focus is on the story and doesn't get too bogged down in the minutiae of the forensics. Thankfully this book gets the balance dead right with a good helping of interesting details about the art of forensic handwriting analysis, good character presentation and development and a great plot.

The narration was excellent and made the audiobook a pleasure to listen to.

One error that really caught my ear though was at the funeral when Claudia was wondering where her friend Kelly was. "As if she had heard Claudia's mental summons Claudia appeared at her side..." when obviously it was Kelly who appeared. Apart from that little "ooops!" though it was all good.

I enjoyed this book very much and look forward to listening to the next in the series.

I was given a free copy of this audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this unbiased review.

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A handwriting mystery compelling, intriguing

I loved this first book it was strange to read them back to front and I am going to read them again 1-8 I was totally lost in meeting the characters, the race against time as the suicide note is not what it appears and the killer is not in Claudia's tail, brilliant narration was great too

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Brilliant

I enjoyed listening to Anna Crowe.

We have a suicide or is it. Enemies, twists, turns and brilliant Claudia Rose a handwriting expert. who must find the truth, with blackmail and false friends.
loved

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  • B.McGrath
  • 18-05-21

intriguing and interesting

I thought it was very interesting and informative the way the author drops little nuggets of wisdom into how interpreting handwriting works. Claudia is no shrinking violet, and isn't afraid to take risks to get to the bottom of things. An admirable character. Joel is one stand up guy, and I liked him as well. I voluntarily listened to a free copy of this and am giving an honest review. The narrator did a great job bringing it to life.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Susan Patterson
  • 02-05-22

Riveting!

Held my attention throughout. Wait for the twist at the end.

Anna Crowe has a captivating voice and brings the characters to life.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

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  • Deedra
  • 29-10-21

Poison Pen

This was a very good story.Narration by Anna Crowe was done nicely.I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.' 

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  • Aryn
  • 25-08-21

Let's slam the guy with small penis jabs...

Author slams the "bad guy" by small penis digs and name-calling. Continually. Probably author doesn't have a son (or hates him?) I wonder if her villain in the next book is a woman with small breasts? Perhaps someone with a birth defect?

Beyond that, i think the potential of forensic handwriting was vastly over-rated, much like "seeing a lie" in a look to the left, but it was fiction, so I could let it slide if it was a good read. But I just couldn't take the continual and repetitive slamming and shaming.

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  • Lidia Chymkowska
  • 02-07-21

A bit dark but gripping...

When it comes to mysteries, recently I've been listening to cozy ones mostly, so this book kind of broke the pattern for me:) It's definitely darker in mood, more serious both in the writing style and the issues it touches upon.

It's one of those books that start quite slowly; but the slow beginning is necessary to properly introduce the main players in the game and set the mood of the story. Then, when the real investigation starts, it speeds up and the plot grips you and doesn't let go until the very end:) And on the way it takes you here and there, twisting and making you think of the not so pleasant and not so openly talked about very dark and horrid sides of Hollywood (and the world in general)...

It's a very-well written book; it's not nice, it's not cozy, it will probably make you feel uneasy and uncomfortable several times, and yet you won't be able to stop listening to it. The plot is so logical and so full of secrets and unknowns you'll want to solve that you won't be able to put it away. I know I couldn't:)

I like the main character - Claudia is stubborn, a bit reckless, too independent for her own good sometimes, but definitely likeable. It's a really great idea to make her a handwriting expert, it adds a bit of "witchy" mysteriousness to her personality:) And those few scenes in which she explains how your handwriting mirrors your character are the icing on the cake:)

Narration by Ms Crowe is fantastic; she has a nice voice, deep and kind of velvety:) She reads at a very good pace, but not too fast, and she as a narrator vanishes behind the voices of individual characters, making us forget she is the one reading the book to us - the kind of narrator I realy like, unobtrusive and putting the story in the front seat:)

DISCLAIMER: I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

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  • Cheryl
  • 09-06-21

Not what you think

I received a free code for this book.
First story I've read of Sheila's, and much enjoyed it. I liked the handwriting analysis of the story. A good ending, and one I didn't think of until it was laid out in front of me. Lots of threads to untangle. A good read.

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  • Ashley Hedden
  • 08-06-21

Great Read

Poison Pen: A Claudia Rose Novel (Forensic Handwriting Mysteries #1) was a great read by Sheila Lowe. Claudia is a handwriting expert who analyzes a letter from a former friend. The authorities believe it's a suicide note, but Claudia doesn't believe that. She looks into the killing alongside detective Joel Jovanic. I enjoyed reading this book and cant wait to read more by the author.

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  • Norma Miles
  • 05-06-21

"It was fun while it lasted."

The funeral of a glamorous society business woman was well attended by the smart set, not because of her popularity but to 'make sure she was dead', according to one time school friend, Kelly. But her middle aged business manager was clearly devastated and, despite a note having been found by the police and Lindsay's death declared a suicide, Ivan wanted Claudia Rose, handwriting expert, to investigate for him and prove that it had been murder. First, Claudia needed to see the suicide note.

There is a pleasurable lightness to the author's writing which not only gives the characters personality and depth but also brings a reality to them all and, in.particular, to the main protagonist. The story develops along sometimes unpleasant adu!t themes, sensitively drawn, detailed but without becoming overly graphic. It is intriguing, certainly, but the real interest point is the way in which a person's handwriting can point to various personality traits. Simply fascinating. The insights given left this reader wanting more.

The book is performed with skill by Anna Crowe, whose very pleasant voice delivers the text with expression, good pacing and excellent intonation. Her voicing of the individual characters is also distinct, and, although her occasional Irish accent certainly needs refinement, her narration overall adds to the enjoyment of the book.

My thanks to the rights holder of Poison Pen, who, at my request, freely gifted me a complimentary copy, via Audiobook Boom. A good first stand alone story in a forensic handwriting series.

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  • grey
  • 07-04-21

Stick with it. It picks up.

While this was a good book, I am glad I read book 2 first; it made me want to keep going in the series. I am not sure I’d have been interested in going on if I’d read book 1 first. This was just a bit lackluster, and quite over the top with descriptions of things (you’ll see when you read it).

The narrator hasn’t hit her stride in this one yet, either.

Keep going. It’s worth it.