Easy Innocence
Removed from the gritty streets of Chicago, the residents of the North Shore sleep easily in their million dollar homes. Easily, that is, until a local girl is discovered bludgeoned to death in the woods. Quick to blame the man with the bat, the North Shore returns to its version of normalcy. But the accused's sister isn't so willing to forget and hires Georgia Davis—former cop and newly-minted PI—to look into the incident. What Georgia finds hints at a much different, darker answer. It seems that some privileged, preppy schoolgirls on Chicago's North Shore have learned just how much their innocence is worth to hot-under-the-collar businessmen. And while these girls can now pay for Prada, iPhones, and Jimmy Choos with their earnings, they don't realize that their new business venture may end up costing them more than they can afford...
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Private eye Georgia Davis battles on behalf of a mentally challenged man charged with murder.

After being suspended from the force and dumped by a fellow cop, Georgia Davis, setting up as a PI, is delighted to catch a case that may give her a chance to help an innocent man when Cam Jordan’s sister hires Georgia to prove her brother, a registered sex offender, innocent of brutally killing private-school teen Sara Long in a forest preserve. The police and DA are baying at Cam’s heels, but an old police pal who warns Georgia of the pressure to close the case also alerts her to a group of girls who were hazing Sara at the time of her death. The maverick streak that got Georgia suspended is just what’s needed in a mystery with some surprising ramifications. The DA’s daughter, who was also in the woods, had a grudge against Sara for dating her boyfriend. And Sara had a lot of expensive clothes neither she or her parents could have afforded. A second death scares Sara’s best friend Lauren into confiding that Sara was hooking and Lauren was running a high-school prostitution ring from her home computer. Georgia has several brushes with death before she can close the complicated case.

Depth of characterization sets this new entry by Hellmann (A Shot to Die For, 2005, etc.) apart from a crowded field.


The creator of the award-winning Ellie Foreman mysteries is back. To quote the author, “This is a departure for me.” Yes, Easy Innocence is darker, the new protagonist harder, and features a disturbing scenario. But readers will recognize Hellmann’s style, including exciting plot development and a strong heroine.
Teenager Sara Long is blonde, beautiful, and intelligent. She’s discovered a better way of making the money needed to buy designer clothes, shoes, purses, and the high tech toys craved by her high school peers. Sara’s new line of work does not involve working in fast food restaurants or coffee shops for minimum wage. Her job and the money it produces have become an addictive obsession, one that leads to a violent death. When mentally disturbed Cameron Jordan is found holding the murder weapon next to Sara’s body, the wheels of justice grind swiftly. Murder is uncommon on Chicago’s wealthy North Shore. Jordan is railroaded through the courts without further investigation. Proof against him is what the D.A. calls a “slam dunk.” Only Jordan’s devoted sister and one suspicious cop doubt his guilt. The cop suggests hiring Private Investigator Georgia Davis to search for clues Chicago P.D. might have overlooked in their haste to convict Cameron Jordan.
Not that long ago, Davis was a cop herself. She chafes over being booted off the force, but handles the investigation in her typical professional style, as if she were still a cop. Each lead takes her deeper into a world she finds hard to accept, where money buys everything from sex to favors in high places to murder. Davis is determined to find the truth, even when clues lead to teenage prostitution and ruthless men who don’t mind killing anyone threatening their power. Complicating her investigation is the sympathy this hard-nosed P.I. feels for the teenage friends of Sara Long.
Easy Innocence is an exciting read. Fans will find Hellmann’s typically stylish twists and turns of plot and strong characterizations. Georgia Davis is a provocative heroine -- tough, a bit jaded, sometimes vulnerable, but a skilled, intelligent investigator. This latest book is, indeed, a departure from the Ellie Foreman mysteries, but Hellmann fans will find her fingerprints all over it. If you enjoy gritty noir mysteries, this one is highly recommended.