cover image What Are Friends For?: A P.J. Smythe Novel

What Are Friends For?: A P.J. Smythe Novel

Caroline Taylor, Five Star, $25.95 (282p) ISBN 978-1-59414-956-6

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.)