Published by Touchstone on March 6th 2018
The Family Fang meets The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry in this literary mystery about a struggling bookseller whose recently deceased grandfather, a famed mathematician, left behind a dangerous equation for her to track down—and protect—before others can get their hands on it.
Just days after mathematician and family patriarch Isaac Severy dies of an apparent suicide, his adopted granddaughter Hazel, owner of a struggling Seattle bookstore, receives a letter from him by mail. In it, Isaac alludes to a secretive organization that is after his final bombshell equation, and he charges Hazel with safely delivering it to a trusted colleague. But first, she must find where the equation is hidden.
While in Los Angeles for Isaac’s funeral, Hazel realizes she’s not the only one searching for his life’s work, and that the equation’s implications have potentially disastrous consequences for the extended Severy family, a group of dysfunctional geniuses unmoored by the sudden death of their patriarch.
As agents of an enigmatic company shadow Isaac’s favorite son—a theoretical physicist—and a long-lost cousin mysteriously reappears in Los Angeles, the equation slips further from Hazel’s grasp. She must unravel a series of maddening clues hidden by Isaac inside one of her favorite novels, drawing her ever closer to his mathematical treasure. But when her efforts fall short, she is forced to enlist the help of those with questionable motives.
First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros is a weekly meme hosted by Vicky at I’d Rather Be At The Beach. Each week, participants share a paragraph (or two) from a book they are currently reading or are planning to read soon.
Today I’m going to share the first two paragraphs from The Last Equation of Isaac Severy. The mere fact that this book has been mentioned in the same sentence as The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry and Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine means that I must read this book.
“On the morning he was to die, the old man woke early and set his breakfast. He put eggs to boil, bread to toast, tea to steep, and as he did so, he felt he understood why prisoners on death row request such commonplace meals on the eves of their executions. The didn’t crave elaborate spreads of coq au vin, foie gras, octopus salad, oysters on ice. These poor souls longed for burgers, fried chicken, pizza, ice cream. Whenever he would come across reports of thse ill-fated last suppers, it was the child-like ones that got to him most: the strawberry shortcake eaten by Chicago serial killer John Wayne Gacy before his lethal injection; or that kid in Texas, Jeffery Allen Barney, who said he was very sorry for what he had done to that woman, and asked only for a carton of milk and two boxes of Frosted Flakes.
The old man, too, had simple tastes. Though he was by nearly all standards a man of culture, his culinary preferences were aggressively ordinary. He had enjoyed a variation on the same breakfast for as long as he could remember. Why stop now that someone was coming for him?“
What do you think? Would you continue reading?
It sounds a bit macabre but it’s piqued my interest.