Hired Gun in Philadelphia: Andrea Kaluzny
Imagine finding yourself knee deep in a murder investigation, dealing with a possible drug ring, missing tango instructor and the death of a colleague all within a short time span. As a document review are main character Daria is asked to review specific notes, emails and documents for a huge pharmaceutical company in order to search for any irregularities. Going through the documents proves productive in many respects but then she learns about a brownstone collapsing in Center City right near where she lives and you won’t believe what the police find within the rubble of this building.
Daria loves to dance and added in for extra spice and entertainment we learn about her tango instructor Diego and his wife Cat. But, there’s much more as Diego makes a play for Daria, she terminates her lessons but then gets an SOS call from his wife that starts a chain of events that lead to more than must murder. There is a cockfighting ring running in Kensington that has been brought down and the blood found there does not only belong to animals. Added in we find out that someone has maimed her instructor, possibly sent his wife one of his body parts and the likelihood that he was murdered is definitely apparent. As we meet the other reviewers we hear the voices of Erica, Lenny and several others who are working on different documents and are concerned about a missing reviewer. As the DA to question her about the missing reviewer calls the situation changes and Daria, she uses her intelligence and semi-lawyer skills to envelop him into the investigation of the missing reviewer only to find out that he was the one killed in the building collapse. But, was it an accident? Was it murder? Why was he there? Sebastian pretty much remained in his office and never really left until his workday was completed. Medical problems are brought to light and a link to a sexual enhancement drug is found.
As the situation heats up and Daria reviews more documents sent to her from Batavia she learns about a Dr. Kendra Higgins, her research and wanting to preserve the Amazonian rainforests. Treating patients, working with two major players of her company we learn that someone was funneling money into his own account and others might have found her breakthrough a threat to what they were trying to do. Added in we have a young doctor named Jose Esposito who asked for money to fund his research is either missing on purpose or murdered. Found dead in her hotel room Dr. Higgins is mourned and her accomplishments hailed. But, things move to another venue as Daria accompanies the DA on a trip. Just what was Sebastian’s connection to two men: Miller and Frankfurter? Where did all of his money come from to fund his girlfriend’s enhancements? What else was in the documents that would link the doctor and Sebastian? Who was Sebastian blackmailing and does this connect with the tango teacher’s death?
The investigation takes many different turns as the author takes readers through what it entails to obtain FDA approval of a drug, the many people interested in this drug and the end result that caused many deaths. Just who was behind Diego’s death you won’t believe? Why was Sebastian blackmailing Miller the reason is just priceless. The documents are quite enlightening and the plot moves at a faster pace as we learn more about Dr. Higgins, what her real motives were for wanting to complete this study and help a young researcher. What exactly did Dr. Higgins learn about the JEP like substance and who were the subjects that it was being tried on? What about the Indian tribe that the Jose got the plants from? As the author maps out the entire plot on pages 195- 199 you will be spellbound by what you learn.
Drugs, murder, blackmailing, contracts that were broken, a reviewer that wanted excitement, found her way into the office of the DA and managed to become part of the investigation. One young contract attorney hired to investigate and review transcripts, tapes and documents in order for the big pharma company prepare for trial. Hoping to get her license and working on this huge international pharmaceutical review, Daria learns the ins and outs of police work, investigative reporting and finds herself knee deep in dead bodies. All the deaths are linked to Batavia and then to one coder named Sebastian whose road to blackmail and financial bliss fell along with the collapsed building. But, wait there is much more as the man who owns the building explained he was behind the collapse. Thinking the building was empty he ordered it collapsed his reasons you will have to learn for yourself and the end result is was he responsible for Sebastian’s death since he was the one found in the rubble or was it someone that made sure he was there?
While questioning Miller they learn that he was aware of the building being ordered to collapse but the end result was no accident. The author then discusses on page 205 the role of Dr. Higgins, his role and the fact that it was an unorthodox study. The research is extensive when related to how studies are conducted. So, how does this related to the Indians, a drug being used by a Peruvian scientist? Just how much is at stake and where does the money wagon wind up and in whose account? The author includes interesting information about Cuba, buying property there, the laws and their living conditions. Deceit, lies, blackmail and someone hired to make sure that Daria’s days were numbered and that she would no longer be a threat to whatever they were planning. Just who lied about her and why? An ending that will leave you wondering what is next for Daria and where will the documents take her? Who was the mastermind behind it all you won’t believe it? What about her relationship with Jim? Will the author bring them both back or will Daria venture solo? What role does a voodoo candle play to get a mortgage? Hired gun, document reviewer and much more as readers will definitely want to see more of this wild, impulsive, creative and smart young woman named Daria. When all is said and done you won’t believe who is really dead and who has created an illusion more powerful than the drug being investigated.
Fran Lewis: reviewer