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The Letter Writer: Book summary and reviews of The Letter Writer by Dan Fesperman

The Letter Writer

by Dan Fesperman

The Letter Writer by Dan Fesperman X
The Letter Writer by Dan Fesperman
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  • Published Apr 2016
    384 pages
    Genre: Thrillers

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Book Summary

February 1942: Provincial policeman Woodrow Cain begins his new job with the NYPD, where he quickly discovers his first case is more complicated than it would appear...

The first thing Woodrow Cain sees when he steps off the train in New York City on February 9, 1942, is smoke from an ocean liner in flames in the harbor. It's the Normandie, and word on the street is that it was burned by German saboteurs. "Ten lousy minutes in New York and already his new life felt as full of loss and betrayal as the one he'd left behind."

What he left behind in a small North Carolina town was a wife who'd left him, a daughter in the care of his sister, and a career as a police officer marred by questions surrounding his partner's murder. When he gets a job with the NYPD, he wants to believe it's the beginning of a new life, though he suspects that the past is as tenacious as "a parasite in the bloodstream."

It's on the job that Cain comes in contact with a man who calls himself Danziger. He has the appearance of a "crackpot," but he speaks five languages, has the manners of a man of means and education—and he appears to be the one person who can help Cain identify a body just found floating in the Hudson River. But who exactly is Danziger? He's a writer of letters for illiterate immigrants on Manhattan's Lower East Side - "a steadfast practitioner of concealing and forgetting" for his clients, and perhaps for himself: he hints at a much more worldly past. What and whoever he really is or has been, he has a seemingly boundless knowledge of the city and its denizens. And he knows much more than the mere identity of the floating corpse. For one thing, he knows how the dead man was involved in New York City's "Little Deutschland," where swastikas were proudly displayed just months before. And he also seems to know how the investigation will put Cain - and perhaps his daughter and the woman he's fallen for - in harm's way. But even Danziger can't know that the more he and Cain investigate, the nearer they come to the center of a citywide web of possibly traitorous corruption from which neither of them may get out alive.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Fesperman gives us a well-crafted novel steeped in the politics and street life of 1940s New York, and in the letter writer, he's created a character who will stay with you long after the last shot is fired." - Kirkus

"Unfortunately, the plot splinters in several directions and never delivers on its initial promise. Still, the likable and well-drawn Cain will go over well with readers, especially those fond of historicals." - Publishers Weekly

This information about The Letter Writer was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Dan Fesperman Author Biography

Dan Fesperman first began writing about dangerous and mysterious people and places as a journalist, a newspaper career that culminated in his years as a foreign correspondent for the Baltimore Sun. Reporting from Europe and the Middle East, he covered three wars while also finding the time to write his first three novels. He then quit the newspaper biz to write fiction fulltime, and now travels on his own dime.

He grew up in Charlotte, NC, and, as a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is a diehard Tar Heel. He is married to the journalist Liz Bowie, and they live just north of Baltimore. Their two children have moved off to adventures of their own.

Dan's thirteen critically acclaimed novels of intrigue and suspense have won two Dagger Awards from the UK Crime...

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