Playing With Matches by N.C. Hyzy is the first book in the “Riley Drake” mystery series. Publisher: N.C. Hyzy, February 2011

As a female PI in Chicago, Riley Drake doesn’t get the respect she deserves. Why should she? Right now her only client is PS Consultants, a high-class matchmaking enterprise, for whom she runs discreet background checks.

But then Riley is hired by billionaire John Stratton who is desperate to resume dating and make his own love connection. The handsome widower would be quite the catch—if it weren’t for the fact that he probably murdered his wife.

Stratton’s woes are only part of Riley’s problems. Other clients—a TV celebrity with sexual-perception issues, a Trump-like entrepreneur with an embarrassing secret, and a worshipful drug-addict trying to go straight—keep her running through the streets of Chicago, ready to take down anyone who gets in her way.

Riley is determined to discover all their hidden truths, even though she knows playing with matches means you sometimes get burnt.

What a read! Riley is asked to solve the murder of John Stratton’s wife and everything points to him until Riley starts digging deeper than the other private investigators. When Riley gets too close, her life is threatened. This action-filled story kept my interest as it had me stumped throughout most of the story. I was riveted to the story because there were too many secrets that needed to be exposed and boy when they were exposed, it was like “wow.” This was a great read and I hope to see more of Riley and her friends.

N.C. is the pseudonym of Julie Hyzy. Julie also writes the “White House Chef” and “Manor House” mystery series.

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