by Roberta Isleib
Cover Artist: Brandon Dorman
Review by Beth Slater
Berkley Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780425214749
Date: 06 March, 2007 List Price $6.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Deadly Advice is the first in a new series by Roberta Isleib featuring Dr. Rebecca Butterman, psychologist and advice columnist. Recovering from her recent divorce, Rebecca returns to her recently purchased condo on the Connecticut shore to find police crawling all over her neighborhood. Startled, she approaches them to find out that her next-door neighbor, Madeline, is dead, apparently by her own hand. Rebecca can't believe that she missed the signs, despite not knowing her neighbor well beyond an acquaintance. When Madeline's mother Isabel approaches Rebecca to care for Madeline's cat, Spencer, she also asks Rebecca to look at Madeline's diary for signs of depression. But will her investigative instincts cause her to ignore her own advice?
Rebecca is trying to pull the pieces of her life together after finding her fellow psychologist husband in their bed with a young redhead. She's moved to a water-view condo in her hometown, is continuing with her own clinical psychology practice, and is writing an advice column for Bloom! under the pseudonym Dr. Aster. Her questions about her neighbor, Madeline, seem to coincide with her editor's desire for a column series about the current dating scene when she finds that Madeline had recently been attending the speed dating scene through Fast Connections.
With a little help from her close friends and her sister, Rebecca is able to wend her way through the speed-dating scene and the clues to find answers to the questions concerning Madeline and her evident blog addiction (blog=web log). Amidst the dating questions, websites, and emails, the condo association is in an uproar over the death in their neighborhood, and calling for more security measures – expensive security measures. Rebecca is working to see what all of it has in common before anyone discovers that Madeline's suicide may have been murder, but the police have beaten her to it – she hopes. When another neighbor is attacked, the investigation speeds up – but is it fast enough?
This is a great new series for those who like books with a theme, and Dr. Butterman – Rebecca – is a wonderful, sympathetic character who is able to admit her own culpabilities while helping others. She has a great support cast of friends and co-workers, as well as her new cat Spencer.
I look forward to Isleib's new series and would recommend it for anyone who wants a quick break from reality for a good read.