Innocent in Las Vegas
Tiffany Black, Las Vegas croupier and aspiring PI, isn’t much good with guns or hand-to-hand combat. She’d much rather tuck into a nice chocolate muffin. But when an old-friend-turned-stripper-turned-trophy-wife asks her to solve the murder of the friend’s husband, she takes on the case when no one else will.
“Innocent in Las Vegas” is essentially a cozy mystery, with a hint of romantic suspense. The heroine, who is nominally a professional PI but might as well be an amateur, is sweet and funny and a bit chubby, with a strong sweet tooth. So it’s hard not to like her, unless you want your PIs dark and bitter like black coffee. Then you should just mosey on over to the noir section, but if you enjoy cozy, hot-chocolate-with-marshmallows heroines, you’ll probably like Tiffany.
The Las Vegas setting does lend a layer of grit to the plot, so, without giving too much away, I’ll say that casino corruption is a feature of the story, and Tiffany has some pretty scary moments. Luckily she’s got a new mentor, a strong silent type with a secret past, to help her out, and she wields a mean stiletto when she has to.
There are a lot of elements in this book that do echo other popular mystery/thriller series with female heroines, so it’s up to you whether you find that comfortingly familiar or derivative. Tiffany befriends a handsome older man who likes to bake, like Kinsey Millhone, and has a grandmother who likes to cause a stir, like Stephanie Plum. But she’s still enough of her own character to make the book feel like something new instead of a complete rehashing of old tropes. So while if you’re looking for something noirish and gritty, or something totally different from anything you’ve read before, this is probably not the book for you, if you’re looking for a fun cozy mystery that gives a behind-the-scenes look at Las Vegas, you’ll probably enjoy this book a lot.