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Since I’m weathering my third winter storm in the past 10 days on the East Coast, that gave me the ideal opportunity to take a much needed break from editing and writing to catch up on reading. I must say ‘The Last Equation of Isaac Severy’ by Nova Jacobs was as delicious as I suspected it to be. The book did not disappoint.

The glamour of Los Angeles serves as a backdrop for this cat and mouse plot where a chorus of characters are thrown into grief and self-examination after the patriarch of the family, Isaac Severy, a famous mathematician, is found dead in his home. His own children have a hard time making sense of Isaac’s death, each processing it in their own unique way.

But one. Hazel Severy, a book owner from Seattle, and the oddball of the family, receives a suspicious note from her recently deceased grandfather, postmarked a few days before his death. In it, he hints at a nefarious organization that is after his work, a math equation, Hazel must put together the clues left behind for her by her grandfather and when she discovers the equation to hand it over to a trusted colleague of Isaac, which is as enigmatic as the note itself.


He warns her: three will die. I’m the first.

Was Isaac Severy predicting his own death? Or was this note the rambling of an old man?

If you expect a murder investigation, cop chases, guns blazing – this book offers none of that. Instead, Isaac Severy’s death is that push to self-examination family members begin when a loved one close to us dies suddenly.   

Yes, ‘The Last Equation of Isaac Severy’ is a book in clues, but the book takes you on a beautiful exploration of reflection, with a hint of mystery. The ending might be somewhat predictable, but nonetheless it’s an exquisite journey worth taking.