Putting together your life after it has been torn apart by the death of your husband is not easy, especially when you have two young children, and it was discovered that your husband had been cheating on you before his death. But Nicki Valentine is not going to let that get to her. Quite the contrary. Not only she is not letting it get to her, she is also going through a private investigator course.
And it so happens that her best friends and neighbour, Kenna, comes to her with an urgent request to use her still-in-development skills to track down the mother of her unborn child to be adopted. Teenage mother-to-be Beth made the difficult decision to give her daughter up for adoption, and has chosen Kenna and her husband, Andy, as adoptive parents after a long and emotionally draining process. No surprise then that they are desperate to find Beth so as not to have to go through the process again – but also because they have already developed an emotional bond with the yet to be born child.
It shouldn’t be too difficult to find a 38 week old pregnant teenager mother, but it is, and Nicki follows the trail which leads her to unexpected and sometimes even dangerous places. While this is definitely not your gun toting, car chasing, foul-mouthed, intense mystery, it is a book that will keep you wondering. You might guess, like I did, what is going on relatively early on in the book, but author Susan O’Brien does a good job in keeping readers guessing even then. The writing is solid and the story filled with humorous moments, and moments that will make you want to reach out to Nicki and give her the kind of help single parents richly deserve.
There are some times when you want to shake some sense into Nicki, but thankfully, in the tradition of everything-turns-out-ok, she survives even the most ridiculous of decisions. There is some level of suspension of belief in reality that has to occur because some of the turns of event are just too bizarre. But then again, I have never been a private investigator; perhaps even the craziest of twists would have happened to me had I been in Nicki’s shoes.
There isn’t any lesson to be learned in this book, really, other than to appreciate the art of perseverance. Nicki is a character readers will no doubt feel attached too way before they close the book. The fact that this book sports the tagline “A Nicki Valentine Mystery” lets me believe that there is more of Nicki Valentine and her adventures waiting for us, which will hopefully continue to entertain us way past her children’s high school graduation.