cover image Death of a Dancing Queen: A Billie Levine Mystery

Death of a Dancing Queen: A Billie Levine Mystery

Kimberly G. Giarratano. Datura, $17.99 trade paper (400p) ISBN 978-1-915202-42-0

YA author Giarratano makes her adult debut with a strong mystery featuring 24-year-old neophyte PI, Billie Levine. Still paying off her student loans, Billie has taken over her grandfather’s investigative firm, which operates from the corner booth of a Teaneck, N.J., deli. She hopes that the flexible hours will give her time to take care of her mother, who has early-onset Alzheimer’s. Billie can’t afford to turn down the money offered by her new client, Tommy Russo, a well-heeled college student with a serious drug habit. He asks her to find his girlfriend, Jasmine Flores, a 21-year-old college student and part-time stripper at the Malta club. When Jasmine turns up dead, Tommy becomes the prime suspect. While gathering background on Jasmine, Billie learns that the young woman was the force behind a true crime podcast called the Murder Girls. Could there be a connection between Jasmine’s death and the 1991 murder of Starla Wells, known as the “cabaret vixen of the Malta club”? An appealing and resourceful protagonist with realistic personal problems complements an intricate plot filled with valid suspects and motives. Readers will want to see more of Billie. Agent: Liza Fleissig, Liza Royce Agency. (Feb.)