Tai Randolph thinks inheriting a Confederate-themed gun shop is her biggest headache - until she finds a murdered corpse in her brother's driveway. Even worse, her supposedly respectable brother begins behaving in decidedly non-innocent ways, like fleeing to the Bahamas and leaving her with both a homicide in her lap and the pointed suspicions of the Atlanta PD directed her way. Suddenly, she has to worry about clearing her own name, not just that of her wayward sibling.
Complicating her search for answers is Trey Seaver, field agent for Phoenix, an exclusive corporate security firm hired to investigate the crime. Trey is fearless, focused, and - much to Tai's dismay - utterly impervious to bribes, threats and clever deceptions. Still in recovery from the car accident that left him cognitively and emotionally damaged, Trey has constructed a world of certainty and routine. He has powerful people to answer to, and the last thing he wants is an unpredictable stranger "detecting" on Phoenix turf.
Tai's inquiry leads her from the cold-eyed glamour of Atlanta's adult entertainment scene to the gilded treachery of Tuxedo Road. Potential suspects abound, including violent stalkers, vengeful sisters, and a paparazzo with a taste for meth. But it takes another murder - and threats to her own life - to make Tai realize that to solve this crime, she has to trust the most dangerous man she's ever met.
Don't look left, I reminded myself. Look left and you throw up again. So I made myself look right, where I stared at an azalea bush until it blurred into a pink and green blob. Luckily for me, the police officer returned at that moment with a cardboard cup of water. I accepted it with shaking hands as he appraised me.
"Are you sure you're okay?"
I faked a smile. "Still shook up, but okay."
His nametag read Norris, and he was dark and squat and as official as a fire hydrant. He'd discovered me retching behind my brother's new forsythia and bustled off to fetch some water. Then he'd offered to track down some breath mints. I'd declined. What I wanted was a cigarette, and I wanted it fiercely.
It was the only thing I could think of that might get the dead girl out of my head.
I remembered strange details, like the rhinestone barrette just above her left ear, a clean metallic gleam in the dark clotted mass of her hair. A silver cuff bracelet encircling a ...
In spite of finding the characters less developed than I would have liked, I did find the mystery both enjoyable and sufficiently complex, and since I liked what I learned of Tai, Trey, Garrity and Rico, I look forward to seeing how this "girl detective," as Tai refers to herself, manages to find herself in the middle of her next mystery.
(Reviewed by Cindy Anderson).
Full Review (1236 words).
Traumatic Brain Injury
Tai's fellow investigator and sometimes-bodyguard, Trey Seaver, is coping with the cognitive changes resulting from Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) that he received in a car accident which damaged his frontal lobe. While he has no lasting motor skill injuries, he is unable to display a normal range of emotions, and can be "triggered" into a violent state when threatened. In addition, while his memory of recent events has improved (in fact his memory seems to be near-eidetic), he often cannot think of a particular word, and has trouble remembering anything before the accident, including his own personality. The upside of the accident is that he has developed a new talent - the ability to read people's body ...
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