Truth Kills (Angelina Bonaparte #1), by Nanci Rathbun

Seven stars

Having been granted an ARC of the fourth novel in this series, I had to take a step back and get acquainted with the characters, the author, and the nuances of the first three books. Nanci Rathbun creates an interesting debut to her series, with fiery Angelina Bonaparte in the driver’s seat. A self-proclaimed middle age woman with a penchant for snooping, Bonaparte is pulled into the middle of a murder investigation and must help clear the man’s name. Full of laugh out loud moments, this is a decent and quick read for those needing something a little lighter on their reading journey.

Angelina Bonaparte (that’s ‘tay’ as the last syllable) has lived quite the life, growing up under the watchful eye of the mafia, in which her father is a passive member. She was a good Italian girl and married before having her children. However, when her husband repeatedly stepped out on her, she kicked him to the curb and took up being a private eye. Now, she’s helping however she can, with a specialty in catching cheating husbands.

While surveilling Anthony Belloni for his wife, Bonaparte finds herself neck deep in a controversy. Belloni has been accused of killing his mistress, Elisa Moreno, which opens many cans of worms. Bonaparte’s client, the wife, begs her to take the case and work with Anthony’s attorney to clear the man’s name. Not her usual job, but Bonaparte is happy to use her skills however she can.

While she begins poking around, someone leaves her some nasty notes at the office, hinting that she ought to beg off the case or face significant trouble. This does not deter the fiery PI, who knows how to play the tough girl better than most.

Elisa Morano’s life has been anything but calm, which opens many potential avenues and suspects who surely wanted her dead. It’s up to Bonaparte not only to follow the trails that are being presented to her, but ensure someone is a more viable suspect than Anthony Belloni. However, it will mean working with a man she swore never to trust.

As I mentioned before, this is the first of the series that I am reading, permitting me to be up to speed on the series before I tackle the ARC. Nanci Rathbun’s genre is one I read often, though the writing is a little less gritty than I am used to, making this a slight challenge for me. However, the story flowed well and held my attention throughout, which is important, as I have three more novels to read.

Angelina Bonaparte is a decent protagonist who has seen a great deal over her many years. Not your typical PI, this white haired and slick woman is always up for a challenge and does not back away from a confrontation. While her backstory does enrich the novel, it is her grit and determination on the streets that is sure to engage the reader. I look forward to more development from the subsequent novels, as Rathbun has left a great deal for the reader to enjoy throughout this piece.

The collection of secondary characters is strong and varied, something that helps the book stay float throughout. While the mob angle is nothing new, Rathbun focuses her attention on a number of areas that mesh nicely and create a strong story. Having characters to prop things up makes for a great read and kept me eager to continue with the story until the very end. I am eager to see how many will be recurring and which characters offered their one-off in this piece.

Getting t the heart of the matter, the story as a whole, I am of mixed sentiments. I enjoyed the flow of the piece and the pace of the action, though something about it left me wanting more action and a deeper connection to the story. It could be that I had to space things out over a number of days because of work, but I did not leave with as strong a connection to the story or Bonaparte as I might have liked. The writing was decent, even if there were some predictable moments, and the mixed chapter lengths strung me along so that I was not tapping my toe to be able to put it down. Still, there was something that left me needing more, a means of getting deeper. I will stick with the series, as it was a pleasant book to have on audio, but I can only hope that debut novel jitters will pass and the reader can get to the heart of the matter.

Kudos, Madam Rathbun, for a good start to an intriguing series. Let’s see where Angelina Bonaparte takes us next.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: