Best Defense by Randy RawlsBeth Bowman is a tough PI with a penchant for jumping to conclusions, a specially-tailored holster in her bra, and a group of homeless people who serve her as the Baker Street Irregulars served Sherlock Holmes.

Her latest client, Sabrina Hammonds, was sure her husband was stepping out on her, and Beth agreed. When Sabrina turns up dead, Beth is sure the husband had something to do with it. The couple’s maid has also been murdered, and their young daughter is nowhere to be found, so Beth makes getting John Hammonds her top priority.

But Hammonds surprises Beth by producing an alibi for the crime — and asking her to take charge of the search for his daughter. “Surprised” is not the word for how the police feel about giving up control of the investigation to an outsider.

Will Beth be able to save the child and find the killer, or will she be the one to blame when it all goes wrong?

This novel is more hard-boiled than cozy, though there are some wacky relatives and mushy moments. Beth is a feisty gal and her homeless helpers add an interesting dimension to the story.