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When a young reporter is killed in a hit and run accident, freelance writer Robyn Guthrie agrees to finish one of the stories the reporter had been writing for the local newspaper. But nothing is as simple as it seems when she uncovers shady land deals, encounters an old high school nemesis, and attempts to fend off her aging mother’s latest notion.
“Surprisingly intense characterization propels Brod’s likable sequel to Getting Sassy. After a hit-and-run driver kills Claire Powell, a reporter working for a weekly newspaper outside Chicago, freelance journalist Robyn Guthrie takes over Claire’s story about a struggling local housing development. The assignment leads to discoveries about toxic dumping and mob financing. Though the basic plot may sound predictable and the characters look like jaunty stereotypes, Robyn uses her sharp intelligence and wry sense of humor not just to investigate crimes but also to cope with personal relationships. Robyn’s wonderful boyfriend may want to have children; the housing developer’s ostentatiously perfect wife was Robyn’s chief tormentor in high school; and her elderly mother nags at her to buy a house so they can move in together. Any of these situations could have lapsed into cliche, but Brod keeps them convincing and even moving as Robyn appreciates the complexity of the individuals around her.” — Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
“Freelance journalist Robyn Guthrie has her hands full dealing with an aging mother who despises her assisted-living facility, a neurotic dog, and an evolving relationship with her boyfriend. When a young reporter at the local newspaper is killed in a hit-and-run accident, the editor asks Robyn to finish one of the victim’s stories. As she works on the leads, she uncovers shady land deals, environmental crusaders, and an old high-school nemesis. Brod combines an appealing young sleuth with an intriguing plot that will draw fans of pet mysteries as well as mainstream genre readers.”
“Clair Powell, a reporter for the Fowler News and Record, had been working on a story about Cedar Ridge, the newest development in green housing, when she took her dog out for a midnight walk and was killed by a hit-and-run driver. Forensics indicate that the car swerved into her. Accident or murder? Hiring on to finish Clair’s interviews, freelancer Robyn Guthrie finds herself smack in the middle of a criminal investigation when many of the people involved with the Cedar Ridge project suddenly die or disappear. Joe Kendrick, whose wife Kat was Robyn’s nemesis in high school, dies in a prostitute’s arms. Glenn Patchen spends two days dodging Robyn’s request for an interview. And Carl Wellen, a soil engineer, vanishes. Meantime, Vrana, a former EPA agent now working as a private investigator, starts tailing Robyn, perhaps at the instigation of mobster Ed Leoni. Had Clair uncovered something so unsavory about Cedar Ridge that she had to be silenced? Only three units have been sold and only one family has moved in to date, but are they safe? Records indicate that before environmental laws kicked in, mob-run concerns were dumping toxic runoffs on the land now occupied by Cedar Ridge. Using stealth and the acting chops of Vrana and her boyfriend Mick, Robyn engineers a major sting that will recompense the new homeowners and swindle the mob. A plucky heroine (Getting Sassy, 2010, etc.), her carping momma and her possibly permanent boyfriend, if they can resolve the kids/no kids issue, are more compelling than the environmental brouhaha. But that sting maneuver is top-drawer.” —Kirkus