Dead Week (A Cassandra Sato Mystery)
by Kelly Brakenhoff
About Dead Week
Dead Week (A Cassandra Sato Mystery)
2nd in Series
Setting – Nebraska
Publisher: Emerald Prairie Press (December 7, 2019)
Paperback: 322 pages
Digital ASIN: B07ZHN2SMS
Will Dead Week kill Cassandra’s career?
VP of Student Affairs Cassandra Sato has a desk full of problems and it’s not even Thanksgiving break.
A student’s injury and a deaf advocacy project brings national media attention to underfunded Morton College.
Cassandra’s new boss talks to her dead husband. Cassandra’s mentor thinks he’s a superhero in a senior citizen’s body. And Cassandra, recently moved from Hawai’i, can’t crack the code of what to wear during November in Nebraska.
Is there more to the Vietnam-era story of a student’s death? Cassandra’s search for the long-buried truth stirs up the wrath of those who want to keep the past forgotten.
Dead Week – The last full week of classes before final exams, a period of substantial and predictable quiet study time for undergraduate students.
With Dead Week quickly approaching Student Affairs VP Cassandra Sato is juggling student issues, a deaf advocacy project, a new college President, and a Nebraska Winter. Her Diversity Council is barely underway when a student is injured. A student that had a mission of her own. When her injury gets national media attention her story gets out drawing unwanted attention to Morton College and the new President may pull the plug on Cassandra’s project completely. There is something going on with her mentor so she is unsure how much help he will be but Cassandra delves in to try to find the truth bringing the ire of even more people.
As with the first book in this series, Death by Dissertation, Ms. Brakenhoff gives readers a wonderfully detailed story featuring characters that are rich and unique.
Cassandra Sato knows some basic American Sign Language to converse with the deaf students at the college, some who work for her. Her friend Meg is an ASL interpreter at Morton College and helps Cassandra when needed. Be it signing and interpreting or helping Cassandra with her clothing and footwear choices, dating advice or just being a sounding board Meg is a great friend. Cassandra also pitches in to help Meg and her family too. It is hard being so far away from her family but slowly she is feeling more at home in Nebraska. Something happens at the end of the story that just may make that easier.
The author is an ASL interpreter herself, so she is writing what she knows and she does an excellent job. She has opened my eyes to so many things regarding the struggles hearing impaired people face not only at college but in daily life. Within this story, we see two sides, the things the deaf students need, which would also benefit hearing students and the college side dealing with budget constraints.
The author also delivers a mystery the not only deals with who hurt the student and continues to torment them but an incident that happened several years ago at the college. The incidents are definitely connected, it is just a matter of splicing all the clues together and a little bit of digging. I did find myself drawn to the right person early in the story but as the story evolved and more information came out it my theory was firmed up in an almost heartbreaking way. There was also a very interesting twist.
The college community gives the book a small-town feel. While Cassandra is new to the college many people on staff have been there for years. All the interactions between the characters felt very realistic.
I really enjoyed Cassandra’s reaction to snow and the November Nebraska weather. Coming from Hawaii it is quite an adjustment. It provided a few giggles. I also enjoyed her unique Hawaiian phrases of speech thrown in here and there. You can take the girl out of Hawaii but you can’t take Hawaii out of the girl.
Dead Week is a strong follow up to Death by Dissertation. I am looking forward to the next semester at Morton College. You know Cassandra will be in the middle of another mystery or two.
You can read my review of Death by Dissertation here.
About Kelly Brakenhoff
KELLY BRAKENHOFF is an American Sign Language Interpreter whose motivation for learning ASL began in high school when she wanted to converse with her deaf friends. Her first novel, Death by Dissertation, kicked off the Cassandra Sato Mystery Series. She also wrote Never Mind, first in a children’s picture book series featuring Duke the Deaf Dog. She serves on the Board of Editors for the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf publication, VIEWs. The mother of four young adults and two dogs, Kelly and her husband call Nebraska home.
Her first mystery, Death by Dissertation, released April 22, 2019.
Website – Amazon – Twitter– BookBub – GoodReads
Instagram – @kellybrak
Purchase Link – Amazon
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”