Book Talk: An Unexplained Death: The True Story of a Body at the Belvedere by Mikita Brottman

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"Compelling, often creepy book…Mixing fascinating investigation and macabre memoir, this is a dark ride with substance." ― Kirkus Reviews

"At once a meditation on suicide and the ways people die as well as a solid piece of investigative reporting, An Unexplained Death crosses man lines and takes big risks. Admirable. Compelling. Unusual." ―Beverly Lowry, author of Crossed Over and Who Killed These Girls

This is the story

An Unexplained Death is an obsessive investigation into a mysterious death at the Belvedere―a once-grand hotel―and a poignant, gripping meditation on suicide and voyeurism.

“The poster is new. I notice it right away, taped to a utility pole. Beneath the word ‘Missing,’ printed in a bold, high-impact font, are two sepia-toned photographs of a man dressed in a bow tie and tux.”

Most people would keep walking. Maybe they’d pay a bit closer attention to the local news that evening. Mikita Brottman spent ten years sifting through the details of the missing man’s life and disappearance, and his purported suicide by jumping from the roof of her own apartment building, the Belvedere.

As Brottman delves into the murky circumstances surrounding Rey Rivera’s death―which begins to look more and more like a murder―she contemplates the nature of and motives behind suicide, and uncovers a haunting pattern of guests at the Belvedere, when it was still a historic hotel, taking their own lives on the premises. Finally, she fearlessly takes us to the edge of her own morbid curiosity and asks us to consider our own darker impulses and obsessions.

Reviews and What Readers Say

"This is a learned, lucid, and finally heartbreaking account of urban obsession. It's David Fincher's film Zodiac crossed with accounts of Judge Crater's disappearance crossed with Ms. Brottman's wild take on the unknowability of life and the necessity of staying obsessed. Ms. Brottman is a groove―and so is her book."

―James Ellroy

" An Unexplained Death begins as a factual mystery, then opens up into something far greater: the fundamental mysteries that concern us all. Mikita Brottman is a gripping writer and an intrepid explorer, a brave chronicler of her obsessions, and ours."

―Zachary Lazar, author of Vengeance​

“Gripping, immersive, and beautifully written, with an unsettling juxtaposition of criminality and mundanity. Brottman blends tragic and gruesome details with an intelligent and refined touch." ―Henry Bond, photographer and author of Lacan at the Scene​

" An intriguing story of a woman's decade-long morbid obsession with suicide and the mysterious death of the 32-year-old stranger who died after crashing through the roof of her home, Baltimore's historic Belvedere Hotel."

Caitlin Rother, New York Times bestselling author of Then No One Can Have Her

“ This was a creepy book. I think if this had been presented as fiction and the main character of "Mikita Brottman" was an obsessed college professor descending into madness, it would have worked just as well.I'm not a fan of true crime, and this book reminds me why—it's exploitative, and lets readers leer into somebody else's worst tragedy and the do nothing productive except offer our own theories. And yet, when it's done well - as it is here - it's seductively attractive by the way it makes a completely disconnected reader suddenly 'care' about what happened. ”

―ERB, Amazon Client

Note: Scheduled to be released on November 6, 2018. To pre-order, Click here

Mikita Brottman is an Oxford educated psychoanalyst and the author of several previous books, including The Great Grisby and The Maximum Security Book Club. A professor of humanities at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, she lives with her partner David Sterritt and their French bulldog in Baltimore’s Belvedere.

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