Meet brainy bookshop owner, private investigator, and part-time vigilante Nikki Griffin.
Thirty-three-year-old Nikki adores motorcycles—and books. In fact, she owns a quaint little bookstore in Berkley called The Brimstone Magpie. She’s also a private eye who takes on the usual cases, such as infidelity, and a former first responder who would meet victims of domestic violence at the scene of the crime, no matter where. Now she has an interesting side hobby: Word of mouth has established her as the person to see if you’re a woman being abused. Nikki’s happy to pay a free visit to your abuser for a calm discussion about the situation. Actually…not so much. Nikki’s visits involve physical violence, but just enough to teach the perpetrator a potent lesson, and these are the kind of guys who would sooner lose a limb than go to law enforcement and admit that a girl got the drop on them. For Nikki, this isn’t just about dispensing a satisfying kind of justice—it satisfies violent urges she’s had since suffering a horrific childhood tragedy that led her beloved younger brother, Brandon, into a life of addiction. Nikki’s extracurriculars can get in the way of her love life, but she seems resigned to that until she meets Ethan, whose sweet demeanor has her immediately hooked. One day she’s approached by Gregg Gunn, CEO of Care4, a child care tech company, who offers her $20,000 to follow Karen Li, an employee supposedly engaged in corporate espionage. Nikki gets one glimpse at Karen and smells a rat. It’s soon obvious that Karen is wrapped up in something much more dangerous than stealing company secrets, setting Nikki on a collision course with some very bad guys—good thing she's more than up to the task. Nikki’s fight scenes are satisfying, clever, and exciting (because Nikki is clever and exciting), and though it’s a crackling thriller, the book also tackles the aftermath of grief, and the scenes between Nikki and the sweet-natured, utterly lost Brandon are heartbreaking. On a lighter note, bookworms will love the references to classic novels, and Lelchuk winks at Nikki’s similarities to a certain well-known literary vigilante; a bookshop regular even calls her Lisbeth.
A timely and totally badass debut.