The Desk from Hoboken cover

The Desk from Hoboken

The Desk from Hoboken book blog tour promotion banner


A Genealogy Mystery, #1
ML Condike
Mystery / Women Sleuths / Forensic Genealogy
Publisher: Harbor Lane Books, LLC
Date of Publication: March 5, 2024
Number of Pages: 446 pages
Scroll down for the Giveaway!


Image of The Desk from Hoboken cover.

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.

Follow the money. Fine the skeletons. Expose the lies. The Desk from Hoboken by ML Condike.

Goodreads button


Clueless Gent’s Rating for The Desk from Hoboken

5 star rating

Author ML Condike knocks it out of the park with The Desk from Hoboken! If anyone accuses this story of being formulaic, it could only be because Condike created a new formula that works. Rarely does a book make me this excited about reading; this one does.

The premise to the story seems simple, perhaps even boring: forensic genealogist RaeJean “Rae” Hunter accepts a case to help confirm the identity of some old bones near a university campus. A student thinks they belong to Mary Rogers, whose nineteenth century death remains a mystery. Even Edgar Allan Poe tried to unravel the mystery in his short story, “The Mystery of Marie Rogêt.”

At first reluctant to accept the case, Rae notices a ladies antique secretary desk in the corner, likely from the 1800s. She liked it so much that she accepted the case in exchange for the desk. Rae had no idea what she was signing up for!

Okay, let me talk about the elephant in the book: genealogy. Unless you are really into exploring your roots, most folks would probably consider genealogy boring. Those same folks would definitely consider a book about genealogy just as boring. But boy, would they be missing out!

I went into this book “like most folks” (see above). The only thing that caught my interest was that the Mary Rogers mystery inspired Poe. I suppose I wanted to know why. But Poe wrote his story only a few years after Mary disappeared in 1841. This story takes place over 175 years after that!

“The past had a way of seeping up through the soil.”

The beginning of this book did not impress nor excite me. However, little did I realize that author ML Condike was shrewdly drawing me in. Why did the first genealogist the university hired up and quit shortly after starting? Was Rae being followed or was it her imagination? Why do the stakes seem so high?

I’m not going to spoil it for you. To answer those questions, you have to read the book. But I’ll warn you – if you read this one, you’ll likely read the next one in this new series as well! I know I will.

Technically, the book is top notch. It is quite well edited. I found absolutely no errors (except for a teeny-tiny one in the Acknowledgments). The pacing is a wee bit slow in the beginning, but once the author puts the story in gear, hang on! I definitely had a hard time putting this one down.

The description is also well done. There are a number of antiques, so the description helped my visuals quite a bit. For example, rather than just saying a pile of diaries fell onto a chair, the author wrote, “A second pile of diaries spilled over the seat of a spiral-twist-legged, Elizabethan-style chaise upholstered in Loro Piana linen.”

One other thing I wanted to mention is that the genealogy data has a lot of moving parts, so to speak. There are many, many names and relations. I heard there was a family tree available on the author’s website to help with that, but I was afraid it might contain a spoiler or two, so I avoided it. But if you think it would be helpful, go for it.

The story did not persuade me to become a forensic genealogist, but it did demonstrate how entertaining and downright exciting a story about one can be! I’m hooked!

I received a free copy of The Desk from Hoboken from Lone Star Book Blog Tours in exchange for my honest review. Opinions expressed are my own.

the Author

Author ML Condike Photo

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.

1st: signed paperback and Corgi plush toy;
2nd: signed paperback and $25 Amazon gift card;
3rd: choice of $25 gift card or signed paperback.
(US only; ends midnight, CDT, 03/29/24)

The Desk from Hoboken tour giveaway graphic. Prizes to be awarded precede this image in the post text.

03/19/24 Review Rainy Days with Amanda
03/19/24 BONUS Stop Hall Ways Blog
03/20/24 Review It’s Not All Gravy
03/20/24 BONUS Stop LSBBT Blog
03/21/24 Review StoreyBook Reviews
03/21/24 Review Boys’ Mom Reads!
03/22/24 Review JennCaffeinated
03/22/24 BONUS Stop Chapter Break Book Blog
03/23/24 Review The Real World According to Sam
03/24/24 Review The Page Unbound
03/25/24 Review Rox Burkey Blog
03/26/24 Review Book Fidelity
03/26/24 Review The Book’s Delight
03/27/24 Review The Clueless Gent
03/27/24 Review The Plain-Spoken Pen
03/28/24 Review Jennie Reads
03/28/24 Review The Plain-Spoken Pen
Lone Star Lit logo
Blog Tour Services Provided By
Lone Star Book Blog Tours logo

Please leave a comment. You'll be glad you did!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

2 thoughts on “The Desk from Hoboken”