Returning to the Chicago setting of her previous work, Hellmann takes on the frightening world of teen aged prostitution in Easy Innocence. This is not a book about prostitutes generally written about or shown on TV, but rather a group of upper middle class school girls.
A group of kids from one other better high schools on the North Shore got together for a powder puff football game one Saturday. Before the day ended, Sara Long, one of the girls in attendance, was found bludgeoned to death with a baseball bat. A handicapped young man was found wandering near the scene and was quickly arrested. The judicial process moved at an unheard of speed to get the young man's case on track for a quick trial. It seemed to everyone to be a slam dunk of a case. Everyone, that is except the young man's sister. Knowing in her heart that Cam was not capable of such a crime, she hired Georgia Davis, a former cop turned P.I., to investigate. Georgia immediately sensed something was not right, but struggled to figure out what it was. Why was everyone in such a hurry with this case? Why was not even the most obvious loose ends being investigated by the police? As she began to unwind the mystery, she stumbled into a world of young girls selling themselves for fancy cell phones, Ipods and designer clothes. Before she is finished, some people from her past life as a cop turn up as well.
Easy Innocence is the beginning of a new series with former Chicago cop turned P.I. Georgia Davis. New in that the protagonist is now Georgia Davis instead of Ellie Foreman, but Georgia won't be completely new to Hellmann's readers, as she is a character from the Foreman books. Georgia is not the only familiar face to pop up in Easy Innocence. Ellie and her daughter Rachel have a role as do several other characters.
While I've read and enjoyed all of the Ellie Foreman books by Hellmann, I have to say I like Georgia Davis as a protagonist better. Yes, she does some impulsive, unprofessional things during her investigations, but that is who she is. It was that sort of impulsiveness that got her suspended from the police force. She is, in many ways, much like Paretsky's V.I. Warshawski. She cares about the people involved, which leads her to sometimes not use the best judgment. When she is on a case and needs information, her impulsiveness causes her to go after the facts no matter what risks are involved.
The book is somewhat darker than Hellmann's Foreman books, but the tone is not drastically different. Overall, I think Hellmann fans as well as readers who enjoy female P.I. books such as Paretsky's V. I. Warshawski or Muller's Sharon McCone will be delighted with Georgia Davis, P.I.
REVIEWED BY CARYN ST. CLAIR
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