A brainy novice private eye tries to solve a tricky case without any help from her boss.
Madison McKenna is inches from getting her Ph.D. in physics when she gives it all up, to the disgust of her family of Ivy League academics, and runs off to Chicago, where she takes a job as assistant to ex–New Orleans policeman Jake Thibodaux. On what seems to be the routine job of following a cheating husband, Jake is ambushed, Madison falls and pierces her shoulder on a nail, and both end up in the hospital, Jake in critical condition. Despite stern warnings to butt out or risk arrest, Madison vows to work the case. Jake’s best friend and former partner, Maxwell Hunter, who runs a highly successful detective agency, is equally dismissive of Madison, who—despite their running verbal battles—finds herself wildly attracted to him. Her determination to solve the mystery is only stiffened when she’s almost killed at the hospital by someone who really wants Jake dead. Her quest turns up many items from Jake’s past that she never knew, including the fact that his daughter apparently committed suicide in Chicago. With a little help from a handsome cowboy, she digs up information that leads her to New Orleans, closely followed by Hunter, who’s holding secrets of his own. Despite a serious lack of street smarts, Madison has enough tricks in her bag to save her from death as she pursues a vicious killer.
Quinn’s series debut is full of action, clever twists, sexual tension, and a likable heroine who sounds like a less tough but more academically accomplished Stephanie Plum.