cover image First Star I See Tonight

First Star I See Tonight

Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Morrow, $26.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-06-240561-6

Phillips continues her popular contemporary Chicago Stars series (after Natural Born Charmer) with an utterly delightful standalone gambol that pairs up recently retired Stars quarterback Cooper Graham and private detective Piper Dove. Coop knows what he wants to do with his post-football life—start a trendy nightclub called Spiral—or at least he thinks he does. But he can’t seem to make the venture’s financial numbers add up. Piper is also having money trouble: she’s being paid to tail Coop, but when he spots her, the client drops her, leaving her at poverty’s doorstep. When she reveals to Coop that he’s being robbed by his nightclub staff, they launch into a relationship with all the head-butting explosiveness of an NFL game, plus frequent diversions into steamier contact sports. As usual, Phillips’s Chicago landscape is dotted with plenty of interesting local scenery, plus juicy details of high-end clothing, accessories, and decor. She has a knack for nuance and stage-setting that grounds her characters and makes them feel perfectly real. Fans and newcomers alike are certain to fall in love with this delightful pair as they scrimmage and score. Agent: Steve Axelrod, Axelrod Agency. (Aug.)