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Loyalty Hardcover – June 18, 2013

4.1 out of 5 stars 131 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Fina Ludlow Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family, goes the saying. Boston PI Fina Ludlow knows this all too well. When her sister-in-law Melanie goes missing, Ludlow probes the depths of her high-powered lawyer family in search of answers. No one is above suspicion, and Melanie’s husband, Rand, is at the top of her list. Was infidelity the reason behind Melanie’s disappearance? Rand insists he wasn’t unfaithful, but Ludlow knows how slippery her brother can be. Ludlow works to gather information from those closest to her sister, from her best girlfriends to her beautiful teenage daughter, who seems to be engaged in some dubious behavior of her own. Ludlow has the shrewdness of her parents and siblings (she knows getting information often requires descending into the city’s underbelly), but she has compassion, too. Fans of the Kinsey Millhone mysteries will enjoy this engaging, if a bit predictable, debut. --Allison Block

Review

"Kinsey Millhone, you've got competition. This firecracker of a series starter is a perfect summer read. It introduces Fina Ludlow, the in-house private investigator for her family's ethically shaky law firm. What starts as a search for her missing sister-in-law uncovers bombshells and twisted family secrets. "

— Entertainment Weekly


"What starts, in Thoft’s dazzling first novel, as a missing-persons case for Boston PI Fina Ludlow—the search for her sister-in-law, Melanie—swells through layers of familial secrets, lies, and betrayals to something approaching Greek tragedy....Readers will be eager to see more of smash-mouth Fina, a hard-boiled throwback equally comfortable shooting from the hip or the lip."
— Publishers Weekly (starred)

“Thoft’s promising debut introduces a significantly flawed but tough new PI and offers up compelling suspense, while the smooth prose keeps things moving right along….This mystery wrapped in family drama should please fans of contemporary suspense of the more hard-boiled sort.”
                        — Library Journal

“(Fina) Ludlow has the shrewdness of her parents and siblings but she has compassion, too. Fans of the Kinsey Millhone mysteries will enjoy this engaging debut.”
—    Booklist

"LOYALTY's Fina Ludlow is my hero. If I were in a bad spot, I'd want her at my back. Don't miss it."
— # 1 New York Times-bestselling author Catherine Coulter

"In her debut novel, Ingrid Thoft  gives us Fina Ludlow, the newest private eye to prowl Boston's mean streets. Fina returns the female detective to the heart of the hard-boiled tradition: hard-drinking, hard-loving, moody. Writer Ingrid Thoft has given her a dysfunctional extended family that rivals the Ewings of Dallas fame, which adds a dimension not often seen in the PI novel." 

 — New York Times-

bestselling author Sara Paretsky

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons; First Edition edition (June 18, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399162127
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399162121
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (131 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,087,828 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Important Information

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More About the Author

INGRID THOFT was born in Boston and is a graduate of Wellesley College. Her interest in the PI life and her desire to create a believable PI character led her to the certificate program in private investigation at the University of Washington. She lives in Seattle with her husband.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I just wish Josefina was my best friend. This story is about a seriously dysfunctional family and the only one who is remotely normal is Fina. Her sister in law goes missing and Fina's family of ambulance chasing lawyers immediately start misleading everyone and throwing roadblocks into Fina's way. She is the only one who is not a lawyer and chose to be a Private Investigator.

The cast of characters is wide and they are well fleshed out as individual people. This is a one day read for me and I will certainly be watching for more by this author.
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I finished Loyalty in one sitting and am hoping the author has a sequel underway. Fina is a great character, complex and relatable. Her interactions with family, lovers and friends really fleshed out the plot. She's a strong, believably kick-ass heroine and is vulnerable without being sappy. The book was very well-written and well-edited, an impressive debut. I read a lot of mysteries and this one stands out for its characters, consistency and gripping plot. Anyone who's a fan of Linda Barnes' Carlotta Carlyle series will surely enjoy Loyalty.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Perhaps it was the cover that drew me in, however; I am glad I gave Loyalty a chance. Ingrid Thoft is a fine writer with an easy prose. Loyalty is a straight forward PI novel told without any shocking twists, turns or unnecessary red herrings.

The Ludlows are a family of wealthy personal injury lawyers. Carl Ludlow is the patriarch of the family and his three sons, Rand, Matthew and Scotty work at his law office. 36 year old Fina Ludlow was slated to join the firm but flunked out of law school. After learning the PI business from the firms lead investigator, Fina steps into his role when the job becomes available. Fina Ludlow is a smart woman with an edgy wit. She has a suitable arrangement with two separate men. One is an old college friend, the other a detective in Major Crimes.

In this debut novel, Rand's wife Melanie is missing and Fina is asked to ascertain her whereabouts without police involvement. As Fina begins to ask the hard questions, she sets off a chain of events that may alter the Ludlows perfect facade in unforeseen ways. Always the black sheep of the family, Fina comes to realize that she may have to choose where her loyalties lie, if she is going to discover the truth.

Having received her certificate in private investigation, Ingrid Thoft uses this knowledge to write with authority. "Loyalty" blends the elements necessary for a good PI story with the relationships within this dysfunctional family. While Fina does take her fair share of hits, literally and figuratively the violence is not graphic. As compared to the Dennis Lehane's, Patrick/Angela PI series this novel would be considered subtle.
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Format: Hardcover
It's hard to believe that Loyalty is a debut novel. Ingrid Thoft has a way with words and dialog that makes the reader feel like she is in the company of an accomplished writer.

The book is a mystery/thriller with a great protagonist named Fina Ludlow. She is part of THE Ludlow clan, a large conglomerate of defense attorneys in the Boston area alll working for Fina's father Carl. Fina flunked out of law school and became a private investigator. She usually does work for her fathers or brothers and, in this book, her job is no exception. Her brother Rand's wife, Melanie, disappears and as the days go by it looks bleaker and bleaker.

As Fina first searches for Melanie and then her murderer, she is faced with deadly information about a slew of people, including her own family. Fina is one tough cookie and she is just as likely to pull a gun as she is to wear a thong. Her best friend is a hunky quy named Milloy who is a masseur by trade and Fina's occasional lover. There is also the handsome police officer, Christian, with whom Fina likes to share business and sex with.

The plot gets a little too complicated but this is a real page turner and a fun book to boot. I highly look forward to more books by Ms. Thoft.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Fina the heroine of LOYALTY is a tough talking, tough living Boston private investigator. She does her investigating for a firm of not particularly above board attorneys that is headed by her father and also employs her brothers. The mystery in LOYALTY involves the disappearance of her sister-in-law and the uncovering of a whole bunch of secrets. That part of the plot is fairly interesting but I found myself disliking Fina and her family so much I didn't really enjoy the book. I don't have to find likable characters in every book I read but I do have to be reasonably interested in the characters (especially the protagonist) and not feel they are just lifted and slightly tweaked from better rendered novels. Apparently this is the first in a new series that I will not be following.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The main character in Loyalty is 34 year old private eye Fina. She lives rent free in her deceased grandmother's condo, has diet soda and cold pop tarts for breakfast, keeps her panties (thongs of course) laying around the condo with everything else she owns, and leaves the dishes dirty on the counter for apparently weeks at a time until she needs one. She drops the F bomb left and right and thinks being tough means having sex with people she doesn't care about and punching bad guys in the kidneys. And she's so darn dumb it never occurs to her to QUESTION the bad guy after she gets done kicking his butt. Her apparently phenomenal investigative skills consist mostly of getting guys she has slept with, or who want to sleep with her, to tell her what she needs to know. She whines about her family like a moody teenager but doesn't just grow up and GET A LIFE.

Her persona as a woman from a wealthy family varies wildly from page to page. Sometimes she's almost boasting about how sophisticated she is, she can tell you the fiber content of a man's suit at a glance, but on another page she doesn't know a thing about wine because she prefers beer. She spends an awful lot of time looking down on other people. Maybe this is the author's idea of irony but it makes my head hurt when this walking stereotype takes a moment to look down on a man 10 years her junior for riding a skateboard. After 300 pages of eating nothing but chips, candy bars, ice cream and diet sodas, with a cast on her broken wrist and fading bruises from rolling her car several times she runs on the treadmill at top speed for over an hour. Gee she's so awesome.

The actual story in Loyalty is actually pretty good. If I could stand Fina it would probably be a 3 or 4 star book. Unfortunately it's hard to concentrate on reading when I have to keep stopping to roll my eyes.
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