Loyalty by Ingrid Thoft

This debut mystery novel by Ingrid Thoft promises to be the first in a series that has elements of two of my favorite genres—the legal thriller and the female private investigator. The main character, Fina Ludlow, is the investigator for a Boston law firm run by her take-no-prisoners father and her three brothers. Fina (short for Josefina) is in the tough-girl mold of others of the genre such as Kinsey Millhone, Carlotta Carlyle, and V.I. Warshawski. She’s smart, stubborn, and tough, and not always law-abiding.

The book begins quickly with three plot lines. A woman is dumped into the ocean, Fina’s father asks her to find her missing sister-in-law, and a woman is introduced who appears to be running an escort service. These plot lines will eventually come together as Fina uses all her resources and skill to find out what has happened to her sister-in-law. Her family loyalty will be tested as she tries to figure out why her brother seems so unconcerned about his wife’s disappearance and about what his teenage daughter does when she’s not at school.

Loyalty was a real page turner for me, and so I was willing to overlook the small things that annoyed me, like how Fina uses a contact at the telephone company to find out the owner of a phone number she finds in her sister-in-law’s recipe box. Hey, Fina, why not just Google it? And even though she realizes that in a missing person case, every hour counts, Fina doesn’t call her contact until the day after she finds the number. Sheesh.

But these are just quibbles. Overall, Loyalty was a well-written fast-paced thriller. I look forward to the next book in the Fina Ludlow series.

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