A Terrified Detective Mystery
by Carole Fowkes
Claire DeNardo is scared of a lot of things. Ordinary objects like roller coasters and men's hairpieces make her knees knock loud enough to be a band's rhythm section. Unfortunately, the only job Claire can find is working for her Uncle Gino in his seedy detective agency. Until now, her cases have all be middle-aged men with trophy wives who needed watching. But when Gino retires and leaves her in charge, Claire gets swept up in a murder case despite her fears. Both the client who hired her and the handsome police detective want her off the case. When the wrong person is charged, it's up to the terrified detective to summon all the courage she can to find the true killer.
*this review may contain spoilers - I warned you!*
I've become quite the fan of the "cozy mystery" - with my favorites being the ones that take place around books. Books about books are awesome! Anyway - I digress.
Claire is so used to the typical "cheating guys" private eye deal that she's honestly scared with a real mystery falls into her lap. Someone has been threatening Michael's sister and when she ends up dead - Claire realizes that she may be in way too deep on this case.
This book really pulled me in! In a way, I contradict myself. On one hand, I feel like it might have gone too fast and that there could be a steadier pace that fits better with a mystery. On the other hand, however, I feel like the fast-pace of it is what really drew me into the story of Claire helping Michael with his sister. It was easy to read and get lost in, and Claire is a likable character - no doubt about it. I think any fan of the cozy mystery would love to read this!
About the Author
Carole Fowkes is the author of the cozy mystery series, "The Terrified Detective." She has also had stories in a number of "Chicken Soup for the Soul" books and other similar anthologies. She is a registered nurse and lives with her husband in Dallas, Texas. She is a member of Sisters in Crime.
Find the Author Online
On Twitter: https://twitter.com/CaroleFowkes
On Goodreads: http://ow.ly/Wt1qs
On the way over, I rehearsed how to back out of our contract. I was scared. Now that this case had morphed into a murder investigation, I wanted out. The police could handle Constance’s slaying. My role would be to offer my sincere condolences and a full refund.
Fearfulness was a familiar feeling. I come from a long line of anxious Italian women. My mother’s screams of “Don’t do that, you’ll hurt yourself,” still ring in my ears.
It might seem strange for someone as faint of heart as I am to be a PI, but my investigatory career started with me playing the part of an administrative assistant to my father’s second cousin, Gino Francini, who owned the PI firm. Later, Gino taught me how to take pictures of people in situations they shouldn’t have been in. Patience and a good long-range lens were the only things needed. That suited me fine.
Two years ago, Gino got tired of the harsh Cleveland winters and retired to Miami. He left the agency to me. Since my Master’s degree in Mass Communications didn’t put me high up on any employer’s list, I took it on. Not that it was much at that point. The profitable worker’s compensation cases had slipped through Gino’s fingers after he got into a fistfight with a deadbeat, claiming a back injury. Since I’d been the one photographing cheating spouses, it made sense for me to carry on the business. Despite some dry spells, it was enough for me to eke out a living without jeopardizing my life.
But staying on this case put me too near that line between making a living and getting killed. The most danger I cared to face was driving through the wild and busy intersection at W. 25th and Clark.
Then, one look at Michael convinced me resigning from his sister’s case just then would be cruel. Poor guy looked like someone took out his spine and left his body to flop about. Sort of like those balloon men snapping in the wind at grand openings of car dealerships. His red-rimmed eyes and drooping shoulders showed the depth of his sorrow. Sympathy tears sprang to my eyes and I blinked them back. I’m a hugger but this time I restrained myself. “Michael, please accept my condolences.”
Poor guy reminded me of Raymond, a kid in my third-grade class everyone picked on. That boy also wore thick glasses. I should have stood up for him. Before he climbed that tree to escape and fell. Fear stopped me, like it had so many times since. Maybe helping Michael Adler would be my chance at redemption.
The guy with Michael, looking every inch a police detective with his strong jaw and ‘sweat a confession out of them’ attitude, spoke up. “And you are?”
I peered into the bluest eyes I’d ever seen outside of a Paul Newman movie. Too bad their owner was staring at me over a dead body. Any other time I’d be batting my eyelashes for all they were worth. Better to play it straight. “Claire DeNardo. Mr. Adler hired me to protect his sister.”
I could’ve sworn he muttered, “Yeah, hell of a job.” The scowl on his face was loud and clear. “Don’t get in my way.” He flashed his badge. “Detective Corrigan, Cleveland PD. This is our investigation now.”