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Loyalty (Fina Ludlow Series #1)
     

Loyalty (Fina Ludlow Series #1)

4.4 19
by Ingrid Thoft
 

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When your family’s on the wrong side of the law…what side are you on?

The Ludlows are a family of fast-talking Boston lawyers, and patriarch Carl Ludlow treats his offspring like employees—which they are. Black-sheep daughter, Fina, dropped out of law school, but her father keeps her in the fold as the firm’s private investigator

Overview

When your family’s on the wrong side of the law…what side are you on?

The Ludlows are a family of fast-talking Boston lawyers, and patriarch Carl Ludlow treats his offspring like employees—which they are. Black-sheep daughter, Fina, dropped out of law school, but her father keeps her in the fold as the firm’s private investigator, working alongside her brothers.

Juggling family, business, cops and crooks is no problem for Fina. 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, but the deeper Fina digs, the more impossible that seems. As she unearths more dirt, the demands of family loyalty intensify. But she is after the truth—no matter where it lies…

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
What starts, in Thoft’s dazzling first novel, as a missing-persons case for Boston PI Fina Ludlow—the search for her sister-in-law, Melanie—swells through layers of familial secrets, lies, and betrayals to something approaching Greek tragedy. The Ludlows’ dysfunctionality is no secret to Fina, the lone surviving daughter and nonlawyer in this clan of high-powered ambulance-chasers, for whom she works as an in-house investigator. When Fina digs into Melanie’s troubled marriage to her brother Rand, she begins to discover disturbing—and dangerous—links to the city’s criminal underbelly, from mobster Mark Lamont to Back Bay madam Bev Duprey. Fina’s two hunky friends with benefits, Det. Cristian Menendez and exotic masseur Milloy, join her on an adrenaline-pumping chase. Although Thoft tips her big bombshell too soon, readers will be eager to see more of smash-mouth Fina, a hard-boiled throwback equally comfortable shooting from the hip or the lip. Agent: Helen Brann, the Helen Brann Agency. (June)
From the Publisher
Loyalty’s Fina Ludlow is my hero. If I were in a bad spot, I’d want her at my back. Don’t miss it.”—Catherine Coulter, # 1 New York Times bestselling author

“In her debut novel, Ingrid Thoft gives us Fina Ludlow, the newest private eye to prowl Boston’s mean streets. Fina returns the female detective to the heart of the hard-boiled tradition: hard-drinking, hard-loving, moody. Writer Ingrid Thoft has given her a dysfunctional extended family that rivals the Ewings of Dallas fame, which adds a dimension not often seen in the PI novel.”—Sara Paretsky, New York Times bestselling author

Loyalty, Ingrid Thoft’s strong debut, is gripping, and Fina Ludlow, the black sheep of her male-dominated family of ambulance chasers, elevates it to a must-read. A seductive combination of sass and smarts, Fina reminds us just how hard it is for women in a male-dominated world without ever giving an inch. Loyalty reminds me just how great a PI novel can be. This is the start of something big.”—Ridley Pearson, New York Times bestselling author

"What starts, in Thoft’s dazzling first novel, as a missing-persons case for Boston PI Fina Ludlow—the search for her sister-in-law, Melanie—swells through layers of familial secrets, lies, and betrayals to something approaching Greek tragedy....Readers will be eager to see more of smash-mouth Fina, a hard-boiled throwback equally comfortable shooting from the hip or the lip."
— Publishers Weekly (starred)

“Thoft’s promising debut introduces a significantly flawed but tough new PI and offers up compelling suspense, while the smooth prose keeps things moving right along….This mystery wrapped in family drama should please fans of contemporary suspense of the more hard-boiled sort.”
                        — Library Journal

“(Fina) Ludlow has the shrewdness of her parents and siblings but she has compassion, too. Fans of the Kinsey Millhone mysteries will enjoy this engaging debut.”
—    Booklist
 

A-! - Entertainment Weekly
Kinsey Millhone, you've got competition. The pistol-packing, trash-mouthed PI Fina Ludlow, daughter of a famous Boston personal-injury lawyer, is equally at home on construction sites and in four-star restaurants as she traces a missing sister-in-law...the sizzling Fina kicks it up a couple of notches, in Loyalty. A-
Library Journal
Fina Ludlow is a law school dropout who now works as an investigator for her Boston family's high-profile personal injury firm. When she's summoned to the office by her father, who rules firm and family with an iron fist, he gives her the news that her sister-in-law, Melanie, is missing. Fina begins to suspect the worst when days go by and Melanie doesn't turn up. Her father and her three brothers want to keep this from the police and the media, which eventually proves impossible. As Fina uses her considerable contacts to dig deeper, she begins to suspect that her family might be more involved with Melanie's disappearance than she initially thought. Events soon turn very dangerous for Fina, and she begins to question how far she'll go to protect her family. VERDICT Thoft's promising debut introduces a significantly flawed but tough new PI and offers up compelling suspense, while the smooth prose keeps things moving right along. Some readers may question some of Fina's decisions and methods, but this mystery wrapped in family drama should please fans of contemporary suspense of the more hard-boiled sort.—Kristin Centorcelli, Denton, TX
Kirkus Reviews
Thoft's debut novel introduces a new female private investigator operating out of Boston who often rebels against her wealthy, overbearing and successful family. Josefina "Fina" Ludlow works as a PI for the family law firm, which specializes in medical malpractice. Her father, Carl, the firm's top lawyer and family patriarch, is both self-consciously stylish and disapproving of his only daughter, especially since Fina flunked out of law school. Her three brother--Rand, Scott and Matthew--are all lawyers who work alongside their dad in the family firm. When Rand's wife, Melanie, doesn't return home one day, Fina and her family are plunged into an investigation and public relations nightmare that ends up involving a normally discreet call-girl service, a gaudy and overbearing female investigator with the Boston police, and Fina's niece, Melanie's and Rand's daughter, Haley, a beautiful but troubled kid whose parents have been too busy fighting with one another to pay attention to her needs. In Fina, Thoft crafts a not particularly original female investigator: She's beautiful, she can fight, she has sex with lots of good-looking men, she wolfs down junk food, often employs poor judgment and bucks the establishment. Although Fina has the occasional astute turn of phrase, many of her techniques read like they are straight out of a private investigator's manual, and most of the action fails to ring true. Thoft's writing is clean and crisp, though, and she weaves the story together without too many stutters, although few readers will fail to figure out key plot twists fairly early in the action. She also commits the mistake of incorporating relentless descriptions of both the clothing and hairstyles of the various characters. As for Fina, while Thoft works hard to make her flawed and interesting, mostly she comes across as rash, sloppy and neither moral nor particularly good at what she does. Thoft's first effort provides a competent storyline that, while it fails to break new ground, promises to improve over time.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101596333
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
06/18/2013
Series:
Fina Ludlow Series , #1
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
496
Sales rank:
97,434
File size:
947 KB
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
Loyalty’s Fina Ludlow is my hero. If I were in a bad spot, I’d want her at my back. Don’t miss it.”—Catherine Coulter, # 1 New York Times bestselling author

“In her debut novel, Ingrid Thoft gives us Fina Ludlow, the newest private eye to prowl Boston’s mean streets. Fina returns the female detective to the heart of the hard-boiled tradition: hard-drinking, hard-loving, moody. Writer Ingrid Thoft has given her a dysfunctional extended family that rivals the Ewings of Dallas fame, which adds a dimension not often seen in the PI novel.”—Sara Paretsky, New York Times bestselling author

Loyalty, Ingrid Thoft’s strong debut, is gripping, and Fina Ludlow, the black sheep of her male-dominated family of ambulance chasers, elevates it to a must-read. A seductive combination of sass and smarts, Fina reminds us just how hard it is for women in a male-dominated world without ever giving an inch. Loyalty reminds me just how great a PI novel can be. This is the start of something big.”—Ridley Pearson, New York Times bestselling author

"What starts, in Thoft’s dazzling first novel, as a missing-persons case for Boston PI Fina Ludlow—the search for her sister-in-law, Melanie—swells through layers of familial secrets, lies, and betrayals to something approaching Greek tragedy....Readers will be eager to see more of smash-mouth Fina, a hard-boiled throwback equally comfortable shooting from the hip or the lip."
— Publishers Weekly (starred)

“Thoft’s promising debut introduces a significantly flawed but tough new PI and offers up compelling suspense, while the smooth prose keeps things moving right along….This mystery wrapped in family drama should please fans of contemporary suspense of the more hard-boiled sort.”
                        — Library Journal

“(Fina) Ludlow has the shrewdness of her parents and siblings but she has compassion, too. Fans of the Kinsey Millhone mysteries will enjoy this engaging debut.”
—    Booklist
 

Meet the Author

Ingrid Thoft was born in Boston and is a graduate of Wellesley College. Her interest in the PI life and her desire to create a believable PI character led her to the certificate program in private investigation at the University of Washington. She lives in Seattle with her husband. Loyalty is her first novel.

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Loyalty 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
ABookAWeekES More than 1 year ago
As the title would suggest, there is extreme loyalty amongst the members of the Ludlow family. Loyalty to themselves, each other, and most importantly to their father, Carl. But this loyalty goes far beyond the ties of family. Besides being their father, Carl is also their boss. He heads a high-powered law firm where each of his children work. His three sons all partners at the firm, follow a strict diet, religious exercise routine, and do everything in their power to keep their father happy. Fina, the sole surviving daughter of the family, could not be more different. She never did the law school thing, opting instead to apprentice with the firm's private investigator. Now, as the lead investigator for the firm, she brings her irreverent spontaneity to everything she does. To be clear, she still has a strong loyalty to her family, but she definitely has her own unique way of showing it. The family is rocked when Melanie, the wife of brother Rand Ludlow goes missing. This isn't the first time this has happened. In fact, there has always been tension between Rand, Melanie, and their teenage daughter Haley, but this time things are different. Following an argument with her husband at their daughter's school the day before, she is literally nowhere to be found. Even worse for the family, all evidence points to Rand as being responsible for her disappearance. Rand is no stranger to minor run ins with the law, but he insists that he had nothing to do with this. With the police, who naturally have a frayed relationship with the family of lawyers to begin with, begin investigating Rand, Carl tasks Fina with getting to the bottom of things. In Fina, author Ingrid Thoft has imagined a fireball of a character who isn't afraid to get her hands dirty to find the truth. As she investigates, she is forced to battle her own emotions and decide whether to place her loyalty in her own sense of moral justice, or in the family that she has devoted her life to. Reminiscent of an early Kay Scarpetta or Stephanie Plum, Fina is the kind of strong, endearing female character that you can't help but root for. In addition to the suspenseful mystery, Thoft involves Fina in an unconventional love triangle that gives us glimpses into her sympathetic if not a little bit twisted psyche. The mystery of itself does become a bit predictable towards the end, but the fun is in witnessing this entertaining character discover the secrets. With Loyalty, her debut novel, Ingrid Thoft has quickly established her place in crime fiction through her strong characters, suspenseful pacing, and charming wit.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing! It will be hard to wait for another book from this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a great book! The pace was good and I liked the main character. The only thing that kept me from giving it 5 stars was the difficulty I had early in the book keeping track of all the characters. I hope there is a sequel as I would definitely read more.
anniemichelle More than 1 year ago
I was expecting a little more from this book, it was good but, took awhile to get through because there was just not one character that I liked much… at all. Fina is a private investigator in her family’s law firm and she gets a tough case, her sister in law Melanie is missing and it’s up to Fina to put the pieces of this puzzle together and find out what happened. The police are looking at Fina’s brother Rand, Melanie’s husband who is a partner in the firm that their father runs with an iron fist, and he, like all husbands is the obvious suspect. Fina needs help trying to catch the bad guy so she enlists some from her cop friend with “benefits” and a friend/lover who worry about her, try to get her to eat food as opposed to junk, try to stop her getting in fights with the bad guys and visit her in the hospital when she doesn't listen to them. Fina must figure out if someone has a grudge against the Ludlow’s or maybe just the husband Rand, does it have something to do with porn? Medical malpractice, money laundering? Fina’s mother is a mommie dearest, her father is a nasty piece of work as is a couple of her brothers….definitely a dysfunctional family. for a first book it is good, I will be waiting for the next...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Terrific debut!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This turned out to be a very pleasant surprise. She really knows how to spin a story. I look forward to reading the next book.
ErnestOrtizWritesNow More than 1 year ago
Great debut of Private Investigator Fina Ludlow. First of all, I loved the character: a tough nonsense PI who is willing to break the rules in order to find the truth of a missing family member. Although the black sheep of the family, she is often relied upon to investigate cases through her demanding father Carl Ludlow. The story is fast paced, had plenty of action and great character interaction. My only complaint is that the very first part of the first chapter reveals too much and it would been better if the author hadn't included it. Otherwise, if you want a strong female PI with enough action and character moments, this is a great book to read. Hard to put down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think this is a very good first effort from a writer with a lot of promise. I'm looking forward to Thoft's writing getting a little tighter, and the need to make Fina a veritable superhero to dial down a little, as she writes more books in this series. I love that Thoft clearly has a feminist analysis and weaves this into the writing as the kind of self-evident philosophy it is. It just always makes for a more interesting and intelligent read. I was a little less enchanted to see the usual 'thin is good; fat is bad' ethos permeate the writing in subtle and not-so-subtle ways, along with the unfortunately all-too-usual vilification of sex-trade workers as either second-class citizens or non-entities. It seemed this author should know better, which made it all the more disappointing. Anyhoo, my criticism aside, it was a decent read and I look forward to more.
lg22 More than 1 year ago
I loved this book!  Great characters and story.  Couldn't put it down.
Lisanne More than 1 year ago
This was an excellent story. I will be looking for another book featuring Fina. She is a great kick butt character.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really great debut novel. Am looking forward to the next one!
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booksandwine More than 1 year ago
In this debut novel, Fina Ludlow is a tough, no nonsense private investigator for her fathers law firm, Ludlow and Associates. Her brothers also work at the firm and the family bonds are very strong. The story is intriguing and moves at a steady pace. I did find one central theme of the book to be a little to easy to figure out, that of Haley; Fina's niece. I would read the next book, if there is one, but I would like a character glossy next time. For some reason, I found it challenging to keep up with the long list of characters in the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Twink More than 1 year ago
3.5/5 Loyalty is Ingrid Thoft's debut novel. Fina Ludlow lives and works in Boston for the family firm. Law firm that is. Her father and three brothers are all attorneys but Fina bucked tradition and became the firm's private investigator. When Fina's sister-in-law Melanie goes missing, patriarch Carl Ludlow sets Fina on the case. The police department's prime suspect is her brother Rand - Melanie's husband. But there's no way Rand would have killed Melanie. Right? As Fina digs into Melanie's life, someone else is just as determined that she drop the investigation. But that's just like a red flag to a bull for our protagonist. Thoft has created a mentally and physical strong, tough, wise-cracking character who seems to thrive on antagonism. But, she has some soft spots underneath that tough exterior. Thoft mixes in healthy doses of family dynamics of all shades - hence the 'loyalty' title. Thoft starts things off with a bang, with lots of characters rapidly introduced in the first few chapters. I did find myself backtracking a bit, until I got who was who straightened out. I'm thinking this is the first in a new series, so it seems like Thoft was simply setting the stage. Fina is a strong personality. I immediately liked her and appreciated her personality, determination and fearlessness. But by the last third of the book I thought this had been firmly established with the reader and found it a bit tiresome to be reminded of this again and again through comments from supporting characters. Loyalty was well plotted, with lots of action, (how many times can Fina get attacked!?) some humour and yet some serious moments as well. The end result can be seen from several chapters away, but that didn't detract from enjoying the journey there. I chose to listen to Loyalty. The reader was Rebecca Soler. I must admit, I wasn't sold on her as a narrator at first. Her voice seemed very young - almost teenaged. When I looked up other books she had narrated, I found she has read several young adult titles - it was Cinder I was remembering. But once I started forming a picture of the character, the voice worked. Soler has a very expressive voice and her interpretation of Fina's snappy dialogue was excellent and suited this sassy, shoot from the hip P.I. As I mentioned, there are many players - Soler gave each a distinctive voice and/or accent so I was able to easily know who was talking. (The southern madam was particularly good) She has a clear voice that made it easy to catch every word. (Gentle listeners be warned - there is a fair amount of swearing sprinkled throughout) Fina is a great new personality on the female P.I. front - a cross between V.I. Warshawski and Stephanie Plum. I'm sure there will be more cases for this intrepid investigator. This was a great summer read for this listener - many a pint of raspberries was picked during the 12 hours of running time!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hawk: Waits for any insurgents who want to fight<p><p><p>Ice: Sits next to Hawkblood and scans the clearing with her clear green eyes.<p><p><p>Blue: Waits with them, her neck still hurting from last night.<p><p><p>Sky: Grooms his fur while sitting next to Bluestorm.<p><p><p>Snake: Bats a fireball between his paws.