Rox Burkey – Blog Place

After a personal loss, forensic genealogist RaeJean Hunter accepts what she believes is a straightforward case to ease back into the game: a student at Connecticut College has found human remains on the school campus. The College hires RaeJean to confirm their tentative identification that it’s a woman named Mary Rogers, whose cause of death has never been determined.   

Unfortunately, it becomes downright dangerous. Someone thwarts her investigation of the same case that inspired Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Mystery of Marie Rogêt.” Still, she meets relatives, some helpful and others not, amid escalating threats. Using her skills, including DNA analysis, historical records research, genealogy mapping, and guidance from a mystical antique desk, she follows every clue.


Author ML Condike creates a complex genealogy mystery that keeps readers intrigued from the start. The remains of a 180-year-old body, a forensic genealogist, an antique desk, and a host of supporting characters hiding secrets make this a page-turner. 

Each character has realistic depth and personality. RaeJean Hunter is overcoming a personal loss but decides to re-engage in life by returning to forensic genealogy work. Her husband Sam is believable and delightfully supportive of Rae and her choices. A professor invites RaeJean to take an easy case to prove the body’s identity. Agreeing to take the case, Rae embarks on an adventure in and around various East Coast cities. She visits libraries, reads diaries, hunts news stories, and interviews family members and descendants of Mary Rogers, hearing the stories passed down. The research angles and scientific process followed, adding delightful edginess to this adventure.

Rae’s travels are revealed with picturesque descriptions that bring life into the scenes, especially in the smaller towns and libraries. One can smell the food, touch the paper of worn pages with faded ink, hear the surrounding noises, and walk the path as the story unfolds. The dialogue aptly delivers the attitudes in the exchanges, revealing underlying character traits. Some surprising relationships RaeJean discovered, as with old man Zeke, developed in unforeseen yet endearing ways while increasing the tension.

The unique storyline meshes a suspenseful mystery with drama, action, unexpected interactions, and multiple leads brought together into the perfect dénouement. Fans of cozy mysteries will enjoy the masterfully executed and highly recommended The Desk from Hoboken. ML Condike delivers an outstanding tale everyone can enjoy. 

ML Condike’s novel, The Desk from Hoboken, is the first in a genealogy mystery three-book series. She also has short stories published in five anthologies. ML Condike completed Southern Methodist University’s Writer’s Path in Dallas in 2019 and is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime North Dallas, Granbury Writers’ Bloc, and Key West Writers Guild.




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    4 replies to "The Desk From Hoboken"

    • Jan Sikes

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this book, Rox. It sounds intriguing!

      • RoxBurkey

        I think you’d love it, Jan. Thank you for stopping by.

    • Kristine Anne Hall

      REALLY looking forward to reading this book already, and your review makes me itch to get to it sooner than later. Thanks for sharing!

      • RoxBurkey

        It is the perfect read when you want get drawn into a new and exciting story. No cookie-cutter here. Thank you for stopping in.

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