Written Off is the seventh book in the Forensic Handwriting Suspense series. I’ve written about serial murderers in Advanced Studies in Handwriting Psychology. Some are female, and that intrigued me. Not wanting to write the same old serial killer story, it was more interesting to address what might bring a woman to perpetrate such evil acts. My object was not to excuse her behavior, but to offer some explanation.
One of the characters appears in the next one, too, Proof of Life. Funny how fictional characters let an author know what they want.
In the dead of winter, handwriting expert Claudia Rose journeys to Maine. Her task: retrieve a manuscript about convicted female serial killer, Roxanne Becker. The author, Professor Madeleine Maynard, was, herself, brutally murdered. While searching for the manuscript, Claudia uncovers a shocking secret about a group of mentally unstable grad students. Selected for a special project, and dubbed “Maynard’s Maniacs,” she wonders if Madeleine had been conducting research that was at best, unprofessional—and at worst, downright harmful, and potentially dangerous? Could that unorthodox research have turned deadly?
Claudia finds herself swept up in the mystery of Madeleine’s life—and death—and makes it her mission to hunt down Madeleine’s killer. But she soon realizes Madeleine left behind more questions than answers, and no shortage of suspects. The professor’s personal life yields a number of persons who might have wanted her dead—and her academic success and personal fortune clearly made her the envy of fellow faculty members. The University where she worked anticipates being the beneficiary of Madeline’s estate—but that seems in question when a charming stranger, claiming to be Madeleine’s nephew, turns up brandishing a new will.
When the local police chief prevails upon Claudia to travel into town to examine the newly produced, handwritten will, she meets Sage Boles, a man with a mysterious past. Back at Madeleine’s isolated house to escape an impending storm, Claudia becomes trapped in a blizzard. With a killer.
Praise for Written Off
“A simply riveting read from cover to cover. ‘Written Off’ by Sheila Lowe is an impressively entertaining and deftly crafted novel of suspense from a novelist with a complete mastery of the genre and a genuine flair for originality.” —Midwest Book Review
Voted Book of the Month by LASR Readers