Shy and quiet, Rachel Alexander, while endearing, isn't your typical New York City P.I. Rachel often tells people she does "research" for a living and would much rather socialize with dogs than humans. She's trained her pit bull, Dashiell, as a therapy dog, and together they volunteer at local hospitals and retirement homes.
As a result, a man Rachel helped but didn't know well names her executor of his estate. At first it seems that veteran cop Timothy O'Fallon committed suicide, but soon Rachel is asking questions. Why did Tim ask her to straighten out his affairs? She begins to feel he wanted her to uncover long-held—and deadly—secrets.
Introspective Rachel is a heroine to cherish, and she's a great match for Tim's friend, detective Michael Brody. Brody's as much a loner as she is, and he plays his cards as close to his vest as she does. Watching these two do a wary dance around each other for much of the novel is one of its chief pleasures. (Sep., 272 pp., $23.95)