Nicki Valentine is a widow with two small children (Sophie, 4 and Jack, 6). She is also training to be a private detective. So when her best friend and near neighbor, Kenna, asks for her help in finding someone, how can she refuse?
It seems Kenna and her husband Andy have been trying to have a baby, but with no luck; so they turned to an agency that will allow them to adopt. Having met Beth, the birth mother, and followed her throughout her pregnancy, Kenna is distraught when Beth, still pregnant, disappears. She wants Nicki to help her find Beth, since she thinks she has been abducted. Her reasoning for this is that the birth father, Marcus, is in a gang and Kenna believes he had something to do with it. So, against her better judgment (the fact that being only a P.I. in training and doesn't know if she can help), Nicki agrees.
But she doesn't do it alone: she has the help of one of her instructors, a hottie named Dean, who helps her through her first case. Even though Nicki eventually realizes she has put herself in real danger, she still wants to find Beth and presses on. Nicki is competent, intelligent and doesn't put herself in harm's way, like some cozy heroines. I did find the reason she was in danger to be somewhat unbelievable, but hey, I'm not a PI, so...and there were a couple of uncomfortable situations (such as when she decides to search a house with the tenant still in it), that didn't seem like it would occur in real life (unless you were insane or something.)
However, Ms. O'Brien drew me in immediately, and kept me reading with very good writing. But be aware that it's not a murder mystery. I know that "mystery" is a broad spectrum, but let's face it: when you hear that a book is a mystery, you kind of expect a murder at some point. Even if it's not in the "blurb," you still figure that someone will be killed. Don't get me wrong; I've read mysteries before where there was no murder, but not many - and none of them were as good as this book.. And, as I said, the writing was good and I enjoyed chasing Beth's trail along with Nicki.
I enjoyed the book very much and will probably read others by this author. Recommended.