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What Are Friends For? (P. J. Smythe Novel) Hardcover – April 6, 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
In Taylor's cute if uneven debut, Persephone Justinalia "P.J." Smythe, a skip tracer for her uncle's loan business in Annapolis, Md., agrees to participate in best friend Alicia Todd Ritchie's documentary about the PI business. In her new role, P.J. accepts a job from Vivian Remington of the Wetlands Protectors Alliance to prove that Florida state senator Marguerite Sutherland stole a fur coat made of ocelot (an endangered species) that Vivian needs to return to the Feds. When someone murders Vivian with a heroin overdose, P.J. becomes a suspect. Meanwhile, P.J. must also deal with her ex-husband, Bobby Crane; Gareth Swenson, a former college classmate with a druggie past; and heartthrob lawyer Neal Patterson, who has a secret. Despite the convoluted plot contrivances of this hard-boiled PI chick-lit satire, readers will want to see more of ditzy P.J. (Mar.)
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I also liked the fact the action is situated in Annapolis instead of a more well known place like Washington or Baltimore and the detail of that city and all the Maryland lore puts the reader right there!
I can't wait to read the next adventure in the life of P-J, the unlikely P-I!
The mix of characters makes for much fun. PJ's ex-huband, Bobby Crane, who threatened to sue PJ for alimony if he ever found out she was actually making a living; her ex college flame, who paid off his college loans selling drugs, and now is in DC angling for a job with the DEA; and Uncle Alex, who's been both father and mother to PJ, but as the owner of Money Source, is PJ's unhappy employer, since PJ's always taking time off from her real job locating deadbeats to play detective.
The author has her tongue firmly in her cheek in WHAT ARE FRIENDS FOR?, a thoroughly enjoyable mystery read.
Wetlands Protectors Alliance Vivian Remington the amazon hires petit P.J. as a sleuth to uncover evidence that Florida state senator Marguerite Sutherland stole an ocelot fur coat. Vivian needs the endangered species coat to return it to the Fish and Wildlife Service who lent it to her. However, when Vivian dies from a heroin overdose that the cops believe was a murder, they suspect P.J. Struggling to prove her innocence by finding the killer and that the politician lifted the coat, P.J. also skirmishes with her ex-husband Bobby Crane; former college classmate Gareth Swenson, and lawyer Neal Patterson.
These entertaining hard-boiled-lit lampoons the detective genre as P.J. seems to step into more manure than a stable produces. Over the top of the head of her first client, fans will enjoy the somewhat formulaic whodunit while laughing throughout starting from the moment P.J. pretends to be a sleuth sizing down to her eye level Vivian.
Engaging and likable, as well as tough, P.J. faces down a number of intriguing characters, including an alcoholic ex-husband, a drug-dealing former boyfriend, and an attentive attorney with his own secrets. With her soft-boiled heroine and her quirky and interesting secondary characters, Taylor has given us a great new female P.I. story reminiscent of Sue Grafton's Kinsey Millhone series. Mystery readers will definitely enjoy meeting P.J. Smythe.