Discovering a brutally murdered boy in a rainy dog park sends misanthropic private detective Jane Ronson on a journey through Baltimore’s gritty underbelly. Aided by a sexy cop, a bad-ass bull terrier, and an only-in-Baltimore cast of characters, Jane must use her computer-hacking and street-fighting skills to save her only family member from being framed as the killer.
Private investigator Jane Ronson suffers from oppositional defiant disorder, the uncontrollable urge to punch first then ask questions later. When a rabbi with a shady past offers her a bag of cash to spy on a rival rabbi, Jane jumps at the chance to make what think will be easy money. To get her cash, Jane impersonates an Orthodox Jewish woman and infiltrates a black market kidney ring in Baltimore’s Orthodox community. Between Russian gangsters and double crosses, Jane is number one on everyone’s hit list. To save her life, she forms an alliance with a religious woman and confronts a family.
Hard Boiled Love
By Jill Yesko
“Murder in the Dog Park” and “Dog Spelled Backwards: An Unholy Mystery” aren’t conventional romances. But underlying my urban crime fiction tales that feature Russian gangsters, a black market kidney ring, and a grisly murder, is an old fashioned love story – of sorts.
Because even crime fiction, whether hard or soft-boiled, needs a little love to keep things interesting.
That’s why I invented the romance between Jane Ronson, my tough chick protagonist who never met a bar fight she didn’t want to jump into the middle of, and Don Williams, the sexy Baltimore City cop with a heart of gold whose love for Jane is rivaled only by his love for the Baltimore Ravens.
Boy likes girl. Girl likes boy. Mayhem ensues. Girl and boy solve murder. Boy and girl ride off into the sunset in police car headed for dive bar to celebrate their love with chicken wings and pitchers of cold beer. That’s how my characters roll.
Jane Ronson, who I loosely based on the Lisbeth Salander character in “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”, is a woman who’s heart is a foreign country. Jane has spent all of her 30 years pushing people away. She hides behind a computer screen hacking information about criminals that she sells on Ebay. Not the most morally respectable way to make a living, but it gives Jane the anonymity she craves.
Until she meets Don, the only person able to penetrated Jane’s emotional armor is Lenny, her oddball cousin and only living relative, who is framed for a vicious murder. Why is Jane loyal to Lenny? Because even tough girls have to have a soft spot for the underdog. Jane would be completely unlikable if she didn’t have some vulnerabilities.
And speaking of dogs, aside from Don, the other great love of Jane’s life is her 90-pound bull terrier named Archie; Jane’s “doggie doppleganger” — “a canine bad ass with enough attitude to reach from Baltimore to Philly and then some.”
I needed to give Jane a dog that reflected her self-image. Bull terriers are aggressive dogs with strange, misshaped heads. Jane sees herself as an unlovable outsider; a freak who has resigned herself to living a cloistered life with her dog and occasional visits from Lenny.
When Don tries to break down Jane’s emotional fortress, it’s only natural she resists. Don’s persistent. He knows the way to Jane’s heart is to seduce her on her own terms. That means plying her with the greasy french fries and cheap beer that constitute Jane’s only food groups in the dive bar where Jane’s a regular.
“Don picked up a fry and slid it around in a the gloppy pool of ketchup. ‘Open up darling,’ he said, popping the saggy fry into my mouth. The grease dripped down the side of my mouth as I chewed. I wiped it off with a was of paper napkins and finished my rum and coke. The room began to spin. I put my hand on the bar to steady myself.
‘Whoa there, little lady,’ Don said taking my arm. ‘Want to dance?’
I stumbled off the bar stool and leaned into him. He was all muscle and brawn. I could feel Rudy and Charlie O’s eyes on my ass as we walked by. I’d deal with those perverts later.”
I hope readers enjoy the Jane and Don’s rough and tumble romance. We all know that love can melt even the hardest heart.
But will love make Jane a bad girl gone good?
You’ll have to stay tuned for my third book “Sleeping Dogs Don’t Lie” to find out!
This review is a joint review for both Murder In The Dog Park and Dog Spelled Backwards. Author Jill Yesko offers the reader a protagonist who is broken, down-trodden, embittered by a hard life. However, Jane loves her dog and her creepy cousin more than she wants to admit, showing a bit of her soft heart in the process. As sad as she is, Jane is a tough cookie as well. Not taking crap from anyone, she has made a life for herself by tracking down cheating spouses and other dirty-deed-doers.
In Murder In The Dog Park, Yesko shows Jane’s intense loathing for the wealthy, or parasites as she calls them, by finding a young private school boy dead in one of the lacrosse parks near her home. As a child of Polish immigrants, Jane hasn’t been handed any freebies in life and she makes sure that she gives as good as she gets when she’s forced to deal with the pompous elite.
Dog Spelled Backwards pulls Jane into the Jewish community when her creepy cousin Lenny tells Jane that they are indeed Jewish. Black market kidneys, Russian mobsters, and crooked rabbis kept me entertained as did Jane’s new tranny friend Jerome. Hysterical!
I love Yesko’s unapologetically crass, belching, beer-drinking protagonist. Jane makes me want to become a tough chick too. Her life is her own and no one messes with those she loves. Great series, well-written and very entertaining. Four Stars!
Jill Yesko’s 20+ year writing career has included stints as a sport writer, NPR commentator and investigative reporter. She’s written about everything from body piercing to human pyramids in Spain. After a solo trek around the world, Jill was profiled as an “adventurous traveler” in O, the Oprah magazine. Before becoming a writer, Jill was a national-class cyclist and graduate and cartographer. A New Jersey native, Jill now patrols Baltimore’s dog parks with her basset hound.
(1) eBook Copy of Murder in The Dog Park
(1) eBook Copy of Dog Spelled Backwards
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