Author: Libby Fischer Hellmann
Narrator: Beth Richmond
Series: The Georgia Davis P.I. Series, Book 1
Publisher: The Red Herrings Press
Released: May 25, 2016
Length: 11 hours 54 minutes
Genre: Suspense; Mystery
When pretty, smart Sara Long is found bludgeoned to death, it’s easy to blame the man with the bat. But Georgia Davis – former cop and newly-minted PI – is hired to look into the incident at the behest of the accused’s sister, and what she finds hints at a much different, much darker answer. It seems the privileged, preppy schoolgirls on Chicago’s North Shore have learned just how much their innocence is worth to hot-under-the-collar businessmen. But while these girls can pay for Prada price tags, they don’t realize that their new business venture may end up costing them more than they can afford.
A young girl – we don’t know who yet – is proud to make enough money to buy a designer purse that costs $300.
Libby Fischer Hellmann left a career in broadcast news in Washington, DC and moved to Chicago over 35 years ago, where she, naturally, began to write gritty crime fiction. Fifteen novels and twenty-five short stories later, she claims they’ll take her out of the Windy City feet first.
She has been nominated for many awards in the mystery and crime writing community and has even won a few. She has been a finalist twice for the Anthony and four times for Foreword Magazine’s Book of the Year. She has also been nominated for the Agatha, the Shamus, the Daphne, and has won the IPPY and the Readers Choice Award multiple times.
Her novels include the now five-volume Ellie Foreman series, which she describes as a cross between “Desperate Housewives” and “24;” the hard-boiled 5-volume Georgia Davis PI series, and four stand-alone historical thrillers set during Revolutionary Iran, Cuba, the Sixties, and WW2. Her short stories have been published in a dozen anthologies, the Saturday Evening Post, and Ed Gorman’s “25 Criminally Good Short Stories” collection. Her books have been translated into Spanish, German, Italian, and Chinese. All her books are available in print, ebook, and audiobook.
Libby also hosts Second Sunday Crime, a monthly podcast where she interviews bestselling and emerging crime authors. In 2006 she was the National President of Sisters in Crime, a 3500 member organization committed to the advancement of female crime fiction authors.
Narrator Beth Richmond has recorded more than 100 audiobooks in the last decade from her studio on the Mendocino coast. Among her favorites are those from Georgia Davis series. “It is a privilege and pleasure to return repeatedly to such a vividly drawn character and world. Ms. Hellman’s books live inside me now, as if they were memories from my own life. What fun!”
Books 4 & 5 in the Georgia Davis P.I. Series are available for review from the ADOPT-AN-AUDIOBOOK PROGRAM.
There was also the dusty smell of the blankets. The starchy scent of the sheets. The faint residue of smoke in the rug and curtains. In nicer hotels, she might catch a lingering trace of disinfectant. But the smell of sex–that was always the same. It didn’t matter whether the man was white or black or Asian. It didn’t matter the state of his personal hygiene. Sex gave off that slightly chemical, briny odor. Sometimes yeasty. Sometimes flavored with sweat. It wasn’t offensive. Just different. As she rolled off his body, his aftershave cut through the smell of sex. Spicy but sweet. She didn’t recognize it, but she knew it was expensive. She sat up. The room was large and elegantly furnished. Late afternoon sun spilled through wooden window slats. He always brought her to nice hotels. And he paid well. They never haggled.
Big money and high crimes…that is the game here. How much would one need to pay to make something go away? What about to just look the other way? Hellmann has a compelling novel, one that will reel readers into the first installment and have them longing to jump into the next one by the end of it.
Georgia Davis, a former police officer suspended from the force, has taken up a new gig as a PI. She’s been hired to investigate the murder of a school girl from Chicago’s North Shore. When everything is nice and tidy, cleaned up really well and an innocent man is handed to the DA with a bow, that is Davis’ first clue that something smells fishy, like a cover up. Knowing that she won’t have the same privileges as a cop, she makes due with obtaining the information in various ways. For starters, talking to all of the girl’s friends and the families of those friends–making some enemies along the way. Once the snooping starts, things start spiraling down pretty quickly and she is able to find some loose lips. She knows that she is on to something big when someone tries to make a hit on her, but that won’t stop her from finding the truth. Can Georgia find the killer in time before an innocent man is sent to jail for life?
Hellmann has a great story, filled with animosity, determination, greed, and power. The characters are well-developed and the pace is steady with the exception of the first few chapters. Some of the characters appear to falter in personality, which is a tad contradictory. Since this review is complimenting the audiobook, Richmond’s voice relay was entertaining. Her narration is clear; however, she provides limited vocal differentiation between characters. This shouldn’t hinder the enjoyment of the novel though. If you are a readers of crime thrillers, suspense and mysteries, you may find this story to be a good fit for you. Easy Innocence is shrouded in secrets and crimes of passion encompassing both adults and children; therefore, it is advised for an audience over the age of 18.
A copy of this audiobook was provided to Turning Another Page by Audiobookworm Promotions and in no way affects the honesty of this review. We provide a four-star rating to Easy Innocence by Libby Fischer Hellmann.
After Sara Long is murdered in the forest preserve during a hazing, PI Georgia Davis interviews a high school boy rumored to have hooked up with Sara, which could have angered the boy’s steady girlfriend enough to be considered a suspect.
Top 10 Books I read last year (Mostly On Audio)
- Beneath A Scarlet Sky – Mark Sullivan: I started this book early last year and put it down because I found it so boring. But after hearing so many people rave about it, I figured I should give it another try. I’m glad I did because the story really picked up until I couldn’t put it down. Based on a true story, Sullivan tells us about Pino Lella and his incredible courage, resilience, and creativity during World War Two in Italy. I should say that I’m a huge WW2 reader anyway, but I didn’t know much about the war in Italy. I now do. The interaction of the Nazis, the Catholic clergy was fascinating but the core of the book, which details Pino’s assignment as the driver for one of the Third Reich’s most powerful commanders, and his mission to spy on the same, is even more fascinating. There’s a beautiful love story as well. All in all, a fabulous read.
- How It Happened – Michael Koryta: Michael Koryta is a writer who just can’t write a bad book, no matter how hard he tries. ☺ In How It Happened, Maine FBI investigator Rob Barrett, a specialist in analyzing confessions from criminals, believes Kim Crepeaux’s confession about her part in a double murder of the daughter of a wealthy local family and her boyfriend. But when the bodies of the murdered victims show up 200 miles away from where Kim said they’d be, Barrett is reassigned. But Barrett and the victim’s father can’t let it go, and the result is a spellbinding, unputdownable read. Koryta is a master writer.
- Becoming – Michelle Obama: There’s probably nothing I can say that readers don’t already know, because they’ve already read it. I listened to the audiobook, which Michelle herself narrated. She did a wonderful job, although I thought it was too slow, so I listened at a faster speed. But reading about the former First Lady’s life was like being let into a special club, and I loved every detail, especially after she met Barack. I thought the years in the White House were not as richly detailed as her earlier life, but maybe that was intentional. I’d love to meet her in person someday.
- The Sympathizer—Viet Thanh Nguyen: I went to Vietnam and Cambodia earlier this year and wanted to read something written by a Vietnamese before I went. A highly lyrical story, I must confess it was quite slow at first. It did pick up, but slowed down again near the end. Still, the prose was so dense and packed with meaning that I had to read slowly in order to catch everything. A fictional memoir, if that makes sense, The Sympathizer tells the story of a young Vietnamese man who has lived in Southern California and gone to college there. He is sent back to Vietnam to be a translator for a South Vietnamese General during the last years of the War and afterwards back to the States. He is a spy.. a double agent, reporting both to the North Vietnamese as well as the South Vietnam. It’s a tough read because he doesn’t spare the brutality or cruelty of a war gone bad, or the self-deceptions we all carry about evil, love, and meaning.
- Black Swan Rising—Lisa Brachman: If you want to learn about the inner workings of a political campaign, local TV news, and social media, all wrapped up in a riveting thriller that’s impossible to put down, you will love Black Swan Rising. I did. But this novel is more than just a great story. With smooth, unflinching prose and three-dimensional characters who are as flawed as they are noble, Lisa Brachman deftly juggles Idealism, rage, despair, and cynicism as they hurtle forward and ultimately converge. Simply put, Black Swan Rising is a must-read for everyone who cares about what’s happening in our country.
- The Litigators – John Grisham: What a breath of fresh air this was! Funny, breezy, altogether unpredictable, John Grisham has restored my faith that he is one of the best crime writers in the country. A tale—actually a romp—through Chicago’s legal community, the story focuses on David Zinc, a young burned-out attorney, who walks away from his fast-track career at a blue-stocking firm, goes on a serious bender, and finds himself literally at the doorstep of our boutique firm. Once David sobers up and comes to grips with the fact that he’s suddenly unemployed, any job—even one with a two man firm on the verge of collapse—looks okay to him. The novel is filled with cynical characters who steal your heart anyway, the search for a get-rich-quick class action scheme, and the inevitable redemption of the principle players. I highly recommend The Litigators.. a wonderful beach read.
- The Silent Patient—Alex Michaelides: Confession: I listened to The Silent Patient just a few months ago in 2019, not last year, but I have to include it because it is an unputdownable story. It’s theoretically Michaelides’ first novel, but if you read his bio, you’ll see he’s been a successful screenwriter for years. Whatever his background, the story is fresh, original, and full of suspense. Alicia Berenson, a successful female painter is accused of shooting her husband 5 times in the face. Afterwards, she goes mute and does not talk to anyone. She’s put in a psychiatric unit where criminal psychologist Theo Faber decides to find out why she shot her husband. Eventually he seems to have some success, but it falls apart. Theo gets more involved in the case – I can’t tell you any more without spoilers. What I can tell you is that this is a novel that basically takes place in a hospital unit. There isn’t much action except talking. Yet, the author creates uncertainty and suspense SO well that I couldn’t put it down. You must read this thriller.
- Under My Skin: Lisa Unger: Lisa Unger is one of my never miss authors, and Under My Skin is a haunting addition to her oeuvre. It’s been a year since Poppy’s husband, Jack, was brutally murdered during his morning run through Manhattan’s Riverside Park. In the immediate aftermath, Poppy spiraled into an oblivion of grief, disappearing for several days only to turn up ragged and confused wearing a tight red dress she didn’t recognize. What happened to Poppy during those lost days? And more importantly, what happened to Jack? She tries to move on, and gets caught up in a test of reality vs dreams as the stress mounts. This is a story to be patient with – the first third of the book doesn’t make a lot of sense; but as you get deeper into it, you realize how well Unger plotted the story. Unreliable narrators are all the rage these days, and you’ll get one in Poppy. But how does that connect to the murder of her husband? If at all? A terrific read.
- The Alice Network— Kate Quinn & The Lilac Girls— Martha Hall Kelly: Just when I think I’ve read every possible permutation of a story set during World War One and Two, two new novels captured my imagination. I read both the above novels pretty much sequentially –you’d think they might have blended together in my mind. But they didn’t, and I’m delighted to highly recommend them both. The Alice Network is set in 1947, and it brings together two women: Collegiate drop-out Charlie St. Clair, who is pregnant; and Eve Sinclair, who spied on the Germans for the English during World War One. She becomes a member of the Alice Network (a real group of women, btw) who spied on the Germans. The plot moves back and forth between the two women and the thirty years separating their stories. The stories don’t converge as much as they parallel each other in a believable way. Love and sex are included. The Lilac Girls, Kelly’s debut novel btw, weaves together three women’s stories during WW2: New York socialite Caroline Ferraday who has her hands full with her post at the French consulate and a new love on the horizon. But Caroline’s world is forever changed when Hitler’s army invades Poland in September 1939—and then sets its sights on France. An ocean away, Kasia Kuzmerick, a Polish teenager, senses her carefree youth disappearing as she is drawn deeper into her role as courier for the underground resistance movement. For the ambitious young German doctor, Herta Oberheuser, an ad for a government medical position seems her ticket out of a desolate life. Once hired, though, she finds herself trapped in a male-dominated realm of Nazi secrets and power. The three women’s stories intersect in a story of intrigue, love, betrayal, and ambition. An excellent read.
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