Death of a Dancing Queen

Datura. (Billie Levine Mystery, Bk. 1). Feb. 2023. 400p. ISBN 9781915202420. pap. $15.99. M
DEBUT YA author Giarratano’s (Dead and Breakfast) debut adult novel is a fun, fast-paced mystery. Jewish PI Billie Levine has revamped her grandfather’s investigation business based in a North Jersey deli in order to care for her ailing mother and pay the bills. She accepts a large stack of cash from local rich kid Tommy Russo, to find his missing girlfriend. But when the missing person case turns into a murder investigation, and the cops have Tommy in their sights as the main suspect, Billie realizes she took on more than she bargained for. The case descends into a tangle of decades-long feuds between crime families, an unsolved cold case, and a large missing diamond. And Billie must solve the case to find her way out alive. Set in New Jersey’s crime world, this novel is a spunky take on hard-boiled detective drama.
VERDICT The story has the writing style of a YA novel but is aimed at adult audiences. Suggested for both younger readers new to crime fiction, as well as returning genre readers looking for something to spice up their reading.
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