The Last Equation of Isaac Severy : A Novel in Clues
by Nova Jacobs

Overview - * Wall Street Journal 's "Mysteries: Best of 2018"
*Book of the Month Club Selection

"Hugely entertaining... The Last Equation of Isaac Severy is full of delight. Though Ms. Jacobs's writing has echoes of Thomas Pynchon, Nathanael West and J.D.  Read more...

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More About The Last Equation of Isaac Severy by Nova Jacobs
*Wall Street Journal's "Mysteries: Best of 2018"
*Book of the Month Club Selection

"Hugely entertaining...The Last Equation of Isaac Severy is full of delight. Though Ms. Jacobs's writing has echoes of Thomas Pynchon, Nathanael West and J.D. Salinger, her terrific book displays in abundance a magic all its own." --The Wall Street Journal

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.

  • ISBN-13: 9781501175121
  • ISBN-10: 1501175122
  • Publisher: Atria Books
  • Publish Date: March 2018
  • Page Count: 352
  • Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds

Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Mystery & Detective - General
Books > Fiction > Family Life - General
Books > Fiction > Literary

BookPage Reviews

Post-mortem pop quiz

Hazel Severy isn’t a math person. While the rest of her adoptive clan revels in the art of quantum mathematics, Hazel would rather be running her beloved bookstore or reading F. Scott Fitzgerald. But when her grandfather, Isaac, dies under questionable circumstances, Hazel is thrust into a bizarre puzzle. Isaac has entrusted Hazel with his top-secret equation, one that could have a catastrophic impact if it falls into the wrong hands. Now Hazel must weed through the mathematics of Isaac’s clues—without any help from her genius family—to make sure her grandfather’s final wishes are honored before it’s too late.

As the Severy family mourns their patriarch’s death, each is in service of his or her own agenda. Why is Hazel’s police officer brother behaving suspiciously? What burden is Isaac’s professor son keeping from his wife and child? What is the motive behind Hazel’s estranged cousin’s extended stay? Most importantly, why are additional family members starting to die?

Each member of the charmingly odd Severy family is a work in (completely relatable) progress as they struggle to secure their place in the shadow of the legend that was Isaac Severy. Keeping up with their individual trials may seem daunting at first, but the effort is rewarded at the end of their respective dramas.

Debut novelist Nova Jacobs has plotted an elaborate riddle within a multifaceted exploration of family and identity. This genre-bending story will appeal to lovers of family dramas such as Celeste Ng’s Everything I Never Told You, as well as readers who prefer their stories full of intellectual suspense.


This article was originally published in the March 2018 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

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