Coming January 10th, 2017
When Ceci Renard hires Ludlow and Associates to sue the hip new church that she believes has brainwashed her daughter, Fina Ludlow is assigned to the case. Covenant Rising Church has all the trappings of a less-than-holy organization: a slick young pastor and his comely wife; fancy houses and luxury cars; and devoted congregants who seem eager to part with their money. Fina wonders if Ceci disapproves of Covenant Rising’s theology or the pastor’s ability to solicit generous donations—until a prominent church member dies unexpectedly. Fina’s investigation requires her to delve into the woman's life—both in and out of Covenant Rising—and ask a host of difficult questions. Is the pastor leading his flock astray? Did the church have a hand in the death or were there less savory elements in the woman's life outside the parish?
The case proves to be a complicated morass of misplaced loyalties and questionable motivations, rivaled only by the current state of the Ludlow family. The return of eldest brother Rand sets in motion an explosive showdown that threatens the very fabric that holds the family together, forcing Fina to confront the true meaning of faith.
When soccer mom Liz Barone is attacked in her kitchen and left with a life-threatening injury, Fina Ludlow is hired by Liz’s mother to identify her attacker. It’s unusual for Fina to take a case that isn’t connected to the family firm, Ludlow and Associates, but Liz was in the process of suing her alma mater, New England University—a suit that could be a legal gold mine.
Twenty years earlier, Liz was an NEU soccer star known for her physical toughness; however, a serious cognitive decline has soured her soccer memories. She’s convinced that her aggressive style of play—and the university’s willingness to ignore head injuries in favor of a win—has put her health and her future in jeopardy, and someone needs to be held responsible.
Was Liz attacked to stop her lawsuit, or were there other secrets in the seemingly innocent woman’s life? Fina convinces her father and boss, Carl, to take the case, and discovers that wading into the financially lucrative and emotionally charged world of collegiate sports requires nerves of steel. As the list of suspects grows and hidden agendas are revealed, Fina wonders if any game is worth the price.
"Exciting…The multilayered plot of Brutality excels with believable twists and realistic characters. One could imagine Fina becoming fast friends and colleagues with Sara Paretsky's V.I. Warshawski, Sue Grafton's Kinsey Millhone and Laura Lippman's Tess Monaghan."
"Mercurial, dogged, and undeniably cool, Thoft’s Fina Ludlow is a star in the next-gen PI line-up."
"Not only do readers have a bird’s-eye view of Fina’s sleuthing activities, but they also are given carte blanche access to the relationships with the dysfunctional family that nurtured Fina. This scrappy and outspoken young woman fights her own battles and unabashedly stands up to her father and older brothers when the need arises. Thoft’s latest title is worthy of the acclaim its predecessors have garnered."
—Library Journal (starred)
"In her third outing, Fina’s firecracker bravado evolves into true confidence, and she attacks her roles as investigator and heavy within her dysfunctional family with delightfully readable vigor."
"Thoft is an entertaining storyteller, and her quirky protagonist's the equal of any male gumshoe."
"Ingrid Thoft continues her absorbing series about Boston P.I. Fina Ludlow. Fina is a terrific character, a failed lawyer who works for a top-drawer law firm led by her stern father and including her irrepressible brothers…Thoft expertly balances her all-too-real theme with her protagonist’s wry narration — especially when Fina is discussing fast food or the opposite sex."
"Straight-talking P.I. Fina Ludlow returns in this third installment of Thoft’s engaging suspense series. With her brash directness tempered by her compassion for others, Fina operates based on her own moral compass."
—RT Book Reviews
"From the very first paragraph in "Brutality," you will know that you’re in the hands of an exceptionally assured writer…the author expertly wrangles a large cast of beautifully developed characters…Fina Ludlow can’t come back soon enough!"
—The Bellingham Herald
BRUTALITY Excerpt - Chapters 1-2 (PDF)
It’s been a couple months since Fina’s last big case—the one that exposed dark family secrets and called Fina’s family loyalty into question—but there’s no rest for the weary, especially when your boss is Carl Ludlow.
Renata Sanchez, a single mother by choice, wants to learn the identity of her daughter Rosie’s sperm donor. A confidentiality agreement and Rosie’s reticence might deter other mothers, but not Renata, nor Carl, who’s convinced that lawsuits involving cryobanks and sperm donors will be "the next big thing." Fina uncovers the donor’s identity, but the solution to that mystery is just the beginning: within hours of the case going public, Rosie’s donor turns up dead.
Fina didn’t sign on for a murder investigation, but she can’t walk away from a death she may have set in motion. She digs deeper and discovers that DNA doesn’t tell the whole story and sometimes, cracking that code can have deadly consequences.
Book Group Guide (PDF)
The Ludlows are a hard-charging family, and patriarch Carl Ludlow treats his offspring like employees—which they are. But his daughter, Fina, is a bit of a black sheep. A law school dropout, her father keeps her in the fold as the firm’s private investigator, working alongside her brothers.
Juggling her family of high-powered (and highly dysfunctional) attorneys, the cops and Boston’s criminal element is usually something Fina does without breaking a sweat. 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 interference, but the deeper Fina digs, the more impossible that seems. The Ludlows close ranks, and her brother Rand and his unruly teenage daughter Haley grow mysteriously distant from the family. As Fina unearths more dirt, the demands of family loyalty intensify. But Fina is after the truth—no matter the cost.
Book Group Guide (PDF)
"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 review
"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."
— # 1 New York Times-bestselling author Catherine Coulter
"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."
— New York Times-bestselling author Sara Paretsky
"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."
— New York Times-bestselling author Ridley Pearson