In this thriller, a Chicago pub owner learns of her murky past, which puts her and her loved ones in danger.
For the most part, 29-year-old Angel Martin is content with her uneventful life running Tetterbaum’s Pub. She endured heartbreak years ago when her fiance, Tony, broke off their engagement without explanation. It seems all she wants now is her no-strings relationship with Grayson and the occasional setup courtesy of her well-meaning, matchmaking Great Aunt Olga. But Angel’s involvement in a serious car accident changes everything, and not just because of the resultant injuries. The accident precedes intelligence that dangerous individuals have discovered her true identity, though Angel was unaware that her name wasn’t her real one. People close to her, from her employee Andrew to Olga, have been hiding things, namely that her past is tied to the heavy Mafia presence in the area. While information she gets is slow to come and often cryptic, it’s clear Angel is targeted by mobsters, hitmen, and, quite possibly, a corrupt cop. They believe she’s privy to the location of incriminating evidence, as it’s associated with her pub. Getting out alive will require a demanding task: finding someone trustworthy. In this series opener, Claridge (Divine Intervention, 2016, etc.) generates a hefty amount of suspense by providing only Angel’s perspective, which leaves readers equally surprised by plot turns and unexpected deaths. This twisty narrative further molds Angel into a tough but believable protagonist. For example, she can’t evade every thug accosting or abducting her, but she still manages to gradually piece together a puzzle: what specifically the much-desired evidence is. While the story is never outright confusing, a few details are vague, such as the reason Angel is only now at risk when apparently numerous people have known her true identity for quite some time. The author offsets the mob-related action with lighthearted moments courtesy of Olga, who partakes in a daily glass of Jack Daniel’s and sports a discernible raspy voice.
An enjoyable, sometimes convoluted mystery with an exemplary protagonist.