A Fresh Detective Novel - Loyalty by Ingrid Thoft
I attended the American Library Association Winter Conference in January in Seattle, Washington. I’d never attended one of the ALA’s conferences and after a few minutes there, wondered why (it would have been an excellent resource when I was teaching full-time).
A new writer, Ingrid Thoft, attended the conference to promote her first novel, Loyalty. I happened to be first in line to meet her and she handed me the novel with a huge smile. Her excitement clearly showed in her eyes when she asked for my name, signed my book and handed it to me--apparently, I was one of the very first people to receive a copy of Loyalty.
Loyalty opens with a woman attempting to ascertain what she’d done to deserve being tied up, blindfolded and laid in the bottom of a boat headed out to sea.
Her arms and legs were cinched together tighter, and she was picked up off of her feet.
Then it was air.
A few pages later Fina, the daughter of a tough lawyer who’s the patriarch of an equally tough family of lawyers, meets with her father who informs her that her sister-in-law has disappeared. It’s her job to find out what happened and where her brother’s wife is.
Fina doesn’t fit her family’s mold. The brothers all finished law school and belong to the Ludlow law firm solely comprised of members who maintain a take-no-prisoners mentality. Fina, who’s a law school drop-out, works for the family firm as the lead investigator. Her credentials for “tough” stand up to anything the rest of the family can tout.
Private investigation was an ideal fit for her: She could keep her own hours, roam the streets, and carry a gun.
Untangling a web of deceit and death, Fina’s PI work uncovers dark secrets of disloyalty, prostitution and horrors that potentially could rip apart her family’s rules of loyalty to family first--regardless of what it takes. The search for what happened to Fina’s sister-in-law takes you with her into the dregs of society as she fearlessly delves into the dark side of her brother’s life; it will hold your attention with its twists and unexpected turns.
Intelligent writing with the ability to bring the reader into another world, mark Thoft’s first novel.
Intrigue lies at its core; it always keeps me reading. With Loyalty the added bonus of the dynamics of a family demanding unquestioned loyalty increases its dimension and depth.
The more Fina digs, the more dirt she unearths. Her father has instilled in his children the belief that family comes first; the family must always be protected at all costs. What Fina finds shakes her foundation forcing her to decide what she will stand for. Do the sacred ties of family loyalty trump truth?
Fina grapples with more than the disappearance of a family member. She faces choices made by other family members and how to reconcile the reality she clearly sees with her core beliefs and sense of morality. She’s a complex character who I look forward to following in the future. Fina’s complexity brings you into her mind where her thoughts make you smile if not laugh aloud. At one point she’s called to the police department where she waits for an officer.
Forty-five minutes later, Fina was deposited in an interview room by a Boston cop who was packing an extra fifty pounds around his waist and thigh. How did he find his penis in there?
Loyalty needs this levity.
Heartbreaking moments in the book coupled with unexpected and shocking discoveries, create Fina’s very human and believable persona. Thoft’s crafted a character that I look forward to learning more about through the books that will follow this one.
It’s a truism that great writers write about what they know, which defines Thoft’s writing strength. She holds a certificate in private investigation from the University of Washington and lived in Boston where Fina and her family live.
Ingrid Thoft is a writer whose work I will definitely follow.
Disclosure: Received for review from the publisher.