The Last Gig by Norman Green is the first book in the “Alessandra Martillo” mystery series. Publisher: Minotaur Books, January 2009
A teenage runaway from the Brownsville projects, Alessandra Martillo lived with an indifferent aunt who had taken her in when her mother killed herself, and later, after more than a year on the streets, a caring uncle found her, took her in, and showed her she had a chance. That was many years ago, and now Alessandra’s all grown up, working for a sleazy P.I., repossessing cars, and trolling for waitstaff on the take. The cases aren’t glamorous, or interesting, but the work pays the bills. And she’s good at it—if there’s one thing she’s learned since leaving the streets, it’s how to take care of herself around life’s shadier elements.
When an Irish mobster named Daniel “Mickey” Caughlan thinks someone on the inside of his shipping operation is trying to set him up for a fall, it’s Al he wants on the job. She’s to find the traitor and report back. But just a little digging shows it’s more complicated than a simple turncoat inside the family; Al’s barely started on the case when she runs into a few tough guys trying to warn her away. Fools. As if a little confrontation wouldn’t make her even more determined.
Norman Green, critically acclaimed author of four crime novels, debuts a fresh, edgy character in the streetwise Alessandra Martillo, a female take on the P.I.s of yesteryear. Tough as nails and sometimes heartless, smart and altogether too brave for her own good, Al is one of the most interesting lead characters to hit crime fiction in years.
I liked this story. The heroine is a strong character with lots of baggage that determines her outlook on her life and her professional job. I would love to see her open up a bit and embrace those that love her. My rating: 3.5 stars