Sunday, January 31, 2016

Easy Innocence (Georgia Davis #1), by Libby Fischer Hellmann

Kindle Edition, April 2008 (original publication 2002)

This is the first of the Georgia Davis mysteries, which of course I read after having read the fourth, the most recent. This is not generally the order to read a mystery series in, but it worked out well this time.

Georgia is a Chicago cop, currently suspended for egregious violations of procedure, and working as a private investigator. Her former and perhaps future boss, Dan O'Malley, refers a client to her, Ruth Jordan, sister of Cam Jordan, a mentally challenged man charged with murdering a high school girl in the woods, during an unofficial high school party.

Cam is a registered sex offender, but his past offenses are public masturbation, and he's never done anything remotely violent. Yet the case against him is moving strangely fast--a few weeks for things that normally take months. What's going on?

Georgia takes on the case, with little expectation of finding much. Yet the more she looks, the less things add up. There's a history of hazing at this high school. In the last year or  so, the murdered girl, Sara Long, had apparently gotten very nosy, wanting to know everybody's business. The state's attorney's daughter goes to the same high school, and lost summer, for a few months, Sara stole her boyfriend. And Sara was paying for some awfully nice clothes and gadgets from her minimum wage job at a bookstore.

As Georgia continues to dig, into Sara's friends and their families, she finds even more that doesn't seem like it can be relevant. How would a real estate deal, however questionable, lead to the murder of a high school girl?

But something's going on with these high school girls that will shock their generally privileged community when it comes out.

The background-setting and character development here are very good, and the plot is solid. Georgia sometimes has some issues with knowing which lines she can cross and which she should be more careful of--it's how she got suspended in the first place, after all. Yet she's fundamentally solid, with a strong sense of both justice and kindness.

Recommended.

I  received this book free from the author, in exchange for an honest review.