Traffic by Robin Gregory

‘After that case, I’d sworn I’d never investigate another homicide. If only I’d remembered.’

Meet Private Investigator Sandi Kent. Sandi works in Melbourne, where she supplements her PI income by teaching swimming to children twice a week. She’s on her way home from one of those swimming sessions in December when her ‘phone rings. Her friend lawyer, Maria Luisetto, wants her to find out more information about a client she is defending, Ricardo Lopez, who has been charged with the murder of a sex worker. There are inconsistent witness statements, a few complicating issues and Sandi is initially reluctant.

‘If my lack of money hadn’t been such an issue right now, I would have waved adiós amiga.’

Sandi then takes on another case, after meeting up with her volatile ex-girlfriend Cassy Joynson. It has been seven years, and Sandi wonders why Cassy has contacted her. She soon finds that Cassy wants Sandi’s help to rescue a young woman who is being held as a prisoner in a Melbourne brothel. Can Sandi help?

Meeting Cassy brings the past back to Sandi. Memories of failed relationships and hopes for the future. And then a reminder that it is December, and a family Christmas needs to be negotiated with her sister Iris and their mother.

Sandi is smart, strong, brave, instinctive, and impulsive. She will need all her skills if she is to negotiate the dangerous reefs of Melbourne’s underworld to get the information she needs. Sandi quickly finds that there is more to Ricardo’s case than she thought, and several people are in danger. And rescuing the young sex worker will not be easy. Her friend Stewart Wright helps: teamwork at its best!

This is a fast-moving story, with a plenty of tension and more than a threat of violence. While everyday Melbourne provides the setting, an underworld of human trafficking, drugs and murder is where much of the action takes place. The story held my attention from beginning to end. Sandi is an engaging character, her friendship with Stewart is terrific, and I hope to read more Sandi Kent mysteries.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith

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