I received a copy of Identity, and the the first book, Loyalty, from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
I was asked to review Identity, and it was the second book in the series, and I didn’t really want to jump in without knowing what was going on. However, I think it would be more than okay to read Identity without reading Loyalty first. I am glad I read Loyalty first, because it helped me get a feel for Fina and her family. Since I read both, I’m going to give a short review of Loyalty and more on Identity!
Loyalty by Ingrid Thoft
June 18th 2013 Putnam Adult
Fina Ludlow #1
Goodreads description: The Ludlows are a hard-charging family, and patriarch Carl Ludlow treats his offspring like employees—which they are. But his daughter, Fina, is a bit of a black sheep. A law school dropout, her father keeps her in the fold as the firm’s private investigator, working alongside her brothers.
Juggling her family of high-powered (and highly dysfunctional) attorneys, the cops and Boston’s criminal element is usually something Fina does without breaking a sweat. But when her sister-in-law disappears, she’s caught up in a case unlike any she’s encountered before.
Carl wants things resolved without police interference, but the deeper Fina digs, the more impossible that seems. The Ludlows close ranks, and her brother Rand and his unruly teenage daughter Haley grow mysteriously distant from the family. As Fina unearths more dirt, the demands of family loyalty intensify. But Fina is after the truth—no matter the cost.
The Ludlows are known for their law firm and less-than-reputable acts on behalf of clients. Fina works as their private investigator, a part of the family but also apart from it. She’s used to helping with cases, but this case is a lot more personal for the Ludlows. Fina’s sister-in-law is missing and her niece is involved in some sketchy business, making it more important to Fina. She’s determined to find out what happened and help her family, but she has to find the truth, even if unearthing it isn’t as loyal as expected.
I liked Fina. She’s abrupt, but she’s kind of fun. Sometimes she came off a little too strong, but she could be funny too. She cared about her family but she also cared about the truth. She worked hard, even when it was dangerous. She’s interesting and layered. I really liked that she had two sort-of-boyfriends/friends-with-benefits, because it was casual but she cared about both of them, and she was free to decide what everything was and they let her.
The story in Loyalty was kind of easy figure out, there are a lot of clues directing you straight to the X. It was still interesting to watch Fina arrive at the spot, and it was also interesting to see how she handled surprises that popped up in her way. There are many questions about loyalty, not just with Fina and her family but with other characters in the book.
Identity by Ingrid Throft
June 26th 2014 (expected) by Putnam Adult
Fina Ludlow #2
Goodreads description: Firecracker P.I. Fina Ludlow returns in the next hard-driving entry in the acclaimed series by Ingrid Thoft.
It’s been a couple months since Fina’s last big case—the one that exposed dark family secrets and called Fina’s family loyalty into question—but there’s no rest for the weary, especially when your boss is Carl Ludlow.
Renata Sanchez, a single mother by choice, wants to learn the identity of her daughter Rosie’s sperm donor. A confidentiality agreement and Rosie’s reticence might deter other mothers, but not Renata, nor Carl, who’s convinced that lawsuits involving cryobanks and sperm donors will be “the next big thing.” Fina uncovers the donor’s identity, but the solution to that mystery is just the beginning: within hours of the case going public, Rosie’s donor turns up dead.
Fina didn’t sign on for a murder investigation, but she can’t walk away from a death she may have set in motion. She digs deeper and discovers that DNA doesn’t tell the whole story and sometimes, cracking that code can have deadly consequences
I enjoyed Identity more than Loyalty. For one thing, it wasn’t as easy for me to figure out “whodunnit,” I kind of has a theory but I wasn’t sure at all. There were several viable suspects. I thought the mystery was handled a lot better in this book.
I liked Fina more this time around, too. She’s still protective of her niece, Hayley. This is one of the best parts of the book for me. She cares a lot about Hayley and is very serious about keeping her safe. She’s still snarky and tough. I love that her job is dangerous and the fact that she’s a female doesn’t stop her from getting the shit kicked out of her, it makes the story feel more real. I also love her personal life drama. I feel like we get to know one guy a bit better than the other, even though she’s with the other one more. I thin I like one more than the other, and this book ended with things kind of undecided for them.
The investigating part is intense and messy, and sometimes the writing was a little off-point for me. There’s a lot of talk about food, Fina eats a LOT. This brings a realistic feel, but it also crowds the story a bit. There’s also a lot of description of what people wear and how they look, and if it is relevant to investigating, that’s fine, but sometimes it just felt like it was personal commentary that was slightly overwhelming. I did enjoy–and laugh–at some of her personal commentary, so I don’t want it all gone. I just wish it were cleaned up a little.
The people she was investigating were more interesting this time, and the sideline story of a family friend played into the Identity theme and was also interesting for me. It seemed kind of handy to have it happen at the same time, but oh well. The cryokids were intriguing, as was their situation. The investigation opened a lot of questions into the donor’s personal life and background and that was an interesting ride. Fina has to deal with the rich, the shady, and the angry. She uncovers the truth and also uncovers some other shocking details relevant to the case/lives of those involved.
Fina is kick-ass. Sometimes it seems to be too much, but I don’t know, I ended up wanting more and thinking about this book during the day when I wasn’t reading it. It gets messy and overloaded at points, but overall it’s an enjoyable story. I’m not sure I would read it again, but I’m glad I read it and will read more of Fina’s adventures in shady investigating when they come out! So, if you like snarky females who aren’t afraid of the dark and dangerous but also have caring sides, you should check this one out!