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Poison Pen (A Claudia Rose Mystery) Paperback – March 1, 2007


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Suicide or murder? Only the graphologist knows for sure in this dynamite debut, the first in a new series, from forensic handwriting expert Lowe (Handwriting of the Famous and Infamous). When celebrity publicist Lindsey Alexander drowns in her hot tub at her L.A. penthouse apartment, Lindsey's business manager, Ivan Novak, hires handwriting analyst Claudia Rose to look into the authenticity of the block-printed note left at the scene. Ivan believes it was penned by a murderer, not a suicide victim. Claudia, who was once Lindsey's friend before being alienated by her pathologically malicious behavior, isn't surprised to learn that Lindsey liked to blackmail her famous clients by threatening to tarnish rather than shine their images. When hunky LAPD detective Joel Jovanic enters the investigation, the "grapho lady" and the cop make a hot team, in and out of the sheets. The author's large nonfiction fan base augurs well for the series. Author tour. (Mar.)
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From Booklist

Handwriting expert Claudia Rose is asked to analyze her old friend Lindsey Alexander's suicide note by Lindsey's associate, Ivan Novak. Although her death has officially been ruled a suicide, Novak doesn't think the flamboyant, self-centered Lindsey would have killed herself. When Claudia goes to Lindsey's penthouse to meet Ivan, she finds him dying, and his killer fleeing. She discovers a flash drive under Ivan's body and impulsively takes it. The flash drive reveals that Lindsey was involved in a kinky sex scam with numerous prominent citizens as clients. Claudia shares the information with the detective in charge, Joel Jovanic, with whom she is developing a romantic relationship. Although the occasional plot element strains credulity--Joel taking Claudia along on official interviews, for example--debut novelist Lowe wins readers over with her well-developed heroine and the wealth of fascinating detail on handwriting analysis. Sue O'Brien
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 284 pages
  • Publisher: Capital Crime Press (March 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0977627608
  • ISBN-13: 978-0977627608
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (209 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #798,564 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Like her fictional character Claudia Rose in the award-winning Forensic Handwriting Mysteries series, Sheila Lowe is a real-life forensic handwriting expert who testifies in handwriting-related court cases and has taught forensic handwriting examination for credit at the University of California, Riverside in their CSI certificate program.

Sheila holds a Master of Science degree in psychology and lectures around the country. Her nonfiction books include the internationally acclaimed The Complete Idiot's Guide to Handwriting Analysis, Handwriting of the Famous & Infamous, and award-winning Handwriting Analyzer software.

Often seen in the media, Sheila was interviewed by Mike Taibbi on Dateline NBC in the Clark Rockefeller case. She has provided analyses of celebrities' handwriting for Time, Teen People, Us, Mademoiselle, and many others. With an international clientele, she serves corporate clients, mental health professionals, attorneys, private investigators, staffing agencies, and just plain folks. Please visit her website: www.sheilalowe.com

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

71 of 78 people found the following review helpful By W. Carter VINE VOICE on April 30, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a smart new mystery series but I can't agree with those who have tagged it as "cozy". I found it much too graphic, a little too "salty" if you will, with a considerable tendency toward violence for that description. What this does, however, is demonstrate Ms. Lowe's ability to turn out a page turner. The action is admirably paced and characters well developed. I was very pleased to see, as I got to the end of Poison Pen, that she is working on another in the Claudia Rose series. Speaking again of misleading tags, I don't understand several of those listed for this book. I realize I'm not here to review others' reviews except as how they may affect whether someone gives this book a try. There is nothing psychic involved--nor paranormal....!? The main character's occupation is analyzing handwriting. I highly recommend the book--it's a terrific mystery.
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful By C. A. Hopkins on April 2, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Kudos to Sheila Lowe for giving us a new mystery series with an entirely fresh and new story line. Claudia Rose is a forensic handwriting analyst who is often called in to assist the police - both to identify handwriting as belonging to a specific individual as well as to give insight into the actual character, personality and current mental state of an individual who has penned a specific item.

The story opens with Claudia and her best friend, Kelly Brennan, attending the funeral of their old friend, Lindsey Alexander, an influential PR maven who worked with many of Hollywood's elite. The three women had been very close at one time, but had had a falling out years earlier, and while Claudia still did occasional handwriting analysis for Lindsey, the three were no longer on friendly terms. Lindsey's death had been deemed a suicide, but Claudia and Kelly overhear an interesting conversation at the funeral that plants a seed of doubt, and at the reception following the funeral, Claudia is approached by Ivan Novak, Lindsey's business manager, asking her to prove that the suicide note hadn't been written by Lindsey - as he is convinced she was murdered.

Claudia decides to take the case but uncovers a WHOLE lot more than she bargained for regarding Lindsey's very messy past and a host of deviant sexual practices (including child sexual abuse, kiddy porn, bestiality, and S&M) among many of Lindsey's rich and powerful clients. When Ivan is attacked trying to pass along some information to Claudia, the entire story shifts into high gear and it becomes crystal clear that Claudia herself is in extreme danger - so much so, that even the talents of LAPD Detective Joel Jovanic might not be enough to keep her safe.

Ms.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Armchair Interviews on March 20, 2007
Format: Paperback
Lindsey Alexander is dead, presumably by her own hand. After all, she left a suicide note, in her own handwriting (printed in block letters), or did she? A number of people think the powerful publicist for the glitzy stars of Hollywood was murdered.

Claudia Rose, a handwriting expert, is retained by Ivan Novak to prove the suicide note was a fake. Claudia and her best friend Kelly have experienced Lindsey's cruelty numerous times in the past and neither woman wants anything to do with her--even if she's dead. But business is slow for Claudia, Kelly may be involved in the murder, and Ivan is persistent.

As Claudia searches for handwriting samples to compare to the unusual sample supposedly left by Lindsey, she inadvertently learns of the darker side of her former friend's life. If Claudia doesn't learn what really happened to Lindsey, she might lose her own life. She joins forces with police detective Joel Jovanic and their relationship soon goes beyond solving the crime.

Sheila Lowe, author of Poison Pen, has written a fast-paced, crisp and gritty novel that penetrates the world of celebrity and the dark appetites of those who live in that world.

Lowe's plot is intriguing and incorporates her intimate knowledge of handwriting analysis. The characters are richly drawn and complex. Claudia is tough, yet vulnerable and immensely likeable.

Sheila Lowe is a handwriting analyst who has authored The Complete Idiot's Guide to Handwriting Analysis and Handwriting of the Famous & Infamous. Lowe was recently involved with the Jon-Benet Ramsey/John Mark Karr case.

Armchair Interviews says: Sheila Lowe's Poison Pen is highly recommended and proof that good mysteries are being published by small houses.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By AK on April 21, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Linsey Alexander's life was not one to admire; drugs, sex, and blackmail were her favorite vices. The way she treated supposed friends and clients whom she was supposed to be promoting was deplorable. One would almost expect her to be murdered, but when she turns up dead, everyone quickly accepts the verdict of suicide; everyone, that is, except her one time friend, Claudia Rose, a forensic handwriting expert who sees something off in the note left behind. Despite the facts to the contrary, Claudia digs for the truth, in the process finding out more than she really wanted to know about Linsey. With the help of a handsome cop, Claudia searches for justice, but might prove to be another victim.

**** Mysteries have always been, at least I have found them to be, a source of great learning. While they challenge your mind with a puzzle, readers also learn new facts via the eyes of the amateur sleuth's discoveries or expertise. Claudia Rose's insights into psychology and forensic graphology are as fascinating as the murder itself. Readers' can look forward to having their own store of information broadened in a very enjoyable fashion. ****
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