New mystery ‘Save Me From Dangerous Men’ offers a righteous new literary heroine
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If you are looking for a new literary heroine who doesn’t fit the stereotypical P.I. mold, put S.A. Lelchuk’s “Save Me From Dangerous Men”(Flatiron Books, $27.99) on your reading list.
Nikki Griffin, 33, owns a used bookstore on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley, California. Her regular customers are as colorful and eclectic as the titles on her shelves. Whenever a stray customer comes looking for just the right book, she always has the perfect recommendations.
Her store’s successful book club is made up of her regular customers as well as a whole other set of strays: Among the group are women who have nowhere else to turn when the men in their lives turn violent. Griffin has different “recommendations” in mind for these dangerous men, one that could be interpreted as threats. She isn’t just a bibliophile; she’s a badass, too.
She also works as a private investigator, hired by clients who want cheating spouses tailed. An unconventional P.I. who doesn’t own a cellphone and drives a not-so-subtle red Aprilia motorcycle., she’s not as tech-savvy as a Lisbeth Salander, but she is just as ruthless about getting the truth.
One day at the bookstore, a Silicon Valley CEO approaches her with a case: He wants her to follow one of his employees who’s suspected of selling company secrets.
But when Griffin witnesses her being threatened, rather than stay on the case, she saves this woman from dangerous men. As a result, she becomes a target in a conspiracy.
Lelchuk has a suspenseful page-turner her. With an eye to making this a series, he makes his heroine and her backstory the focus and the plot, at times, secondary though still original and inspired. The whodunnit and why are meticulously built. And Nikki Griffin is totally believable.