No Such Thing As a Free Ride by Shelly Fredman is the fourth book in the “Brandy Alexander” mystery series. Publisher: Aquinas & Krone Publishing, February 2010

Puff piece reporter, Brandy Alexander, is determined to win the battle of self-improvement. She is eating better, (or at least telling people she is) working out (if sparring with a guy who fishes doughnuts out of the gutter and eats them counts) and checking her impulsive behavior at the door.

But it’s hard to stay on track when her own therapist gives her up as a lost cause. What’s even harder for Brandy is turning down someone in trouble. Enter Crystal, a young teenage runaway whose friend, Star, has gone missing. Star was last seen getting into a mysterious stranger’s car. In her efforts to reunite Crystal with Star, Brandy quickly becomes immersed in the dangerous subculture of homeless youth.

As Brandy gets in over her head with hostile street gangs, pimps and others who prey upon the young teens, she looks to the tough and savvy Nicholas Santiago to help her navigate the mean streets. Soon, Brandy realizes that there is more behind Star’s mysterious disappearance than she thought, and enlists the aid of ex-boyfriend, Detective Bobby DiCarlo, to help her solve an ever-growing tale of intrigue.

Add to an already full plate planning her best friend’s baby shower and nursing a broken heart, courtesy of Nick, and you’ve got the makings for the latest BRANDY ALEXANDER MYSTERY.

This is the best book in the series so far. Once I started reading it, I couldn’t put it down until I got to the last chapter. It was fun to catch up with Brandy and her friends and I’m so glad she got her wish. This book was worth the wait. My rating: 4.5 stars

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