Thicker Than Blood: A Rachel Chavez Mystery #1by Penny Rudolph
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For Rachel Chavez, every day is a battle with her demons. She only wants to stay sober and keep her recently inherited parking lot in downtown LA financially afloat. It’s nearly a 24/7 job. Then an executive from the nearby water agency is killed by a hit-and-run driver and Rachel spots the car that did the deed in her garage. A few days later her stand-in employee dies of peculiar causes. And Rachel unknowingly becomes tangled in the conniving cross-purposes of California water politics. When she uncovers evidence of a crime ring, Rachel believes the mystery of the two deaths is solved. But another official is killed, her own father disappears, and it becomes agonizingly clear that the killer is closing in on Rachel.
Meet the Author
Penny Rudolph has worked as a bartender, truck driver, chili picker, science writer, and medical writer. Shes taught high school and college English, creative writing, and journalism.
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I really felt as puzzled as the main character, Rachel Chavez, as to what was going on. Only guessed towards the end, since Rachel really stumbles upon two different plots. She is trying to get by, minding the parking garage she has inherited and minding her own business, but gets drawn in unwillingly by association into the business of water in California- crucial for such a populous state that has so much desert & drought. Farmers, scientists, environmentalists, politicians and government agencies, and bureaucrats, none of whom are clearly all good or all bad, become suspects, even as Rachel befriends them or already knows them. Afraid of the cops and the villains, Rachel ends up on the run. Luckily she has a few new friends plus a love interest to turn to for help. I especially like Goldie, her new wannabe police recruit pal, (merry maid by necessity). Rachel's backstory becomes part of the plot too, as she discovers she is a lot tougher, more curious and determined, if foolhardy, and luckier than she ever imagined. She has personal demons that impact the story as well. A couple of loose ends I am curious about and I would have liked more conversation between Rachel and Hank, and at times the pace could have slowed down a little but I am going to look for her next adventure.