My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Claire DeWitt didn't go to some fancy college. She didn't even finish high school. She grew up on the streets of Brooklyn with a yen for investigation and a knack for being in the right place at the right time. Somehow she wound up apprenticed to one of the greatest detectives alive, and she learned everything she could.
Now she's on her own, trying to solve a crime in post-Katrina New Orleans. She's not here to make friends, and she doesn't make them in abundance. She also doesn't play by the rules most detectives follow. Her clues come in dreams, or from throwing Chinese coins. Sometimes she'll find inspiration by reading a mysterious book by a French detective. (No, she won't let you see it.)
One of Claire's maxims is that no one likes a private eye, because people don't really want to know the truth. That may be true for the people she comes across in the course of her investigations, few of whom seem to be fond of her. But if you like a hardscrabble detective who has a few substance abuse problems, a few more enemies, and quite a lot of confidence in herself, then Claire DeWitt is the detective you've been looking for.
Of course, Claire Dewitt is just one of a number of female sleuths out there. If you're looking for someone a little less rough around the edges, try Tai Randolph. To read more about her, keep reading below.
Atlanta-based detective Tai Randolph has received a lot of high praise.
The first book in the series, The Dangerous Edge of Things, received a starred review from Kirkus Reviews which included the line, "If you're wondering who can give Stephanie Plum a run for her money, meet Tai Randolph."
The second book, Darker Than Any Shadow, just arrived and here's the description from the publisher:
- "The dog days of summer have arrived, and Tai Randolph is feeling the heat.
Running her uncle's gun shop is more demanding than she ever imagined. Her best friend Rico is competing for a national slam poetry title. And Atlanta is overrun with hundreds of fame-hungry performance poets clogging all the good bars.
She's also got her brand-new relationship with corporate security agent Trey Seaver to deal with. SWAT-trained and rule-obsessed, Trey has a brain geared for statistics and flow charts, not romance. And while Tai finds him irresistibly fascinating, dating a human lie detector who can kill with his bare hands is a somewhat precarious endeavor. And then just when she thinks she might get a handle on things, one of Rico's fellow poets is murdered...and Rico becomes the prime suspect.
Tai pushes up her sleeves and comes to his defense with every trick in her book a little lying here, a little snooping there. Trey wants her off the case immediately. So does Rico. Every poet in Atlanta has a secret, it seems, and one of them is willing to kill to keep theirs quiet. But someone else wants her on the job, someone dropping anonymous clues and clandestine tip-offs her way. Someone with an agenda that's looking either positively heroic...or downright deadly.
Will Tai's relationship with Trey survive another foray into amateur sleuthing? And even more importantly, will she?"
Request any of the books in this post by clicking the titles or the covers.
And if you've got a favorite detective series, let us know in comments!
Review by Danny Hanbery