This is the debut novel in a new series starring a wonderfully neurotic Welch police detective named Fiona "Fi" Griffiths. Fi narrates this procedural mystery about murdered prostitutes, a disgraced former cop, a presumed-dead multi-millionaire - and how they all fit together. It's a compelling plot, but Fi is the star of the show. Her oddness keeps her colleagues at awkward bay and for the most part means she's friendless and without a romantic interest. As the story unfolds, though, the more we find out about Fi's backstory, the more appealing she becomes and the more we want to know about her. Oh, and her decidedly unorthodox approach to the art and science of detecting is refreshing and delightful inside a frequently tired genre.
- RICK KOSTER