Delia Pitts has been steadily building a career with a strong foundation of fans who eagerly await each new release from her. Fans of the six novels in The Ross Agency Mystery series know that Pitts is a writer skilled at both creating believable characters who win reader’s hearts and crafting complex plots that expertly straddle the line between entertainment and social justice advocacy. Readers who know her from her critically acclaimed short stories witness as she navigates both character and plot with the deftest of language and a pitch-perfect ear for dialogue. Both of those groups will rejoice in the release of Trouble in Queenstown—the launch of a new series—as it highlights each of these artistic strengths, establishing it as Delia Pitts’ best work to date.

The heart and soul at the center of Trouble in Queenstown is Evander “Vandy” Myrick, a former cop now working as a private investigator in the environs around Queenstown, New Jersey. Rather than subvert the PI stereotypes, Delia Pitts allows Vandy to embrace the tropes (pun intended) and defy expectation in every way. Vandy Myrick is all woman, and she will sleep with who she wants to (just about everyone), speak her mind (in whatever tone and language she likes), and kick some ass when needed (both physically and mentally). Readers will fall in love with her from the first paragraph of Trouble in Queenstown and claim themselves her “ride or die” until the final word hits the page.

Of course, Vandy needs a case to investigate, and Delia Pitts shines in that area as well. What starts out as a simple divorce-related surveillance job quickly morphs into a larger probe with ever-increasing stakes. Suddenly, Vandy is faced with a murder inquiry and the need to evade (ie., break) all the rules to get to the truth. Trouble in Queenstown traverses the fine tightrope of allowing Vandy’s investigation to unspool slowly and realistically without becoming plodding and boring. As every new discovery sends Vandy down a new path in logical ways, readers are treated to a novel of dualities—on one hand, it feels like a lighter traditional mystery series, but buried in its depths is a pattern of social inequity that is anything but a laughing matter. This tonal divergence is challenging to handle, but Delia Pitts makes it look easy.

There is no doubt that Vandy is the glue that holds Trouble in Queenstown together, but for a series to be successful, the community around the main character and the history they bring to the table needs to be spot-on. Delia Pitts knows this and succeeds once again. With the ever-shifting loyalties (and clients) the current case involves, Vandy makes many connections that readers will hope to see expanded upon in further novels. Vandy’s family dynamic—especially as it relates to her ailing father—is touching and there are many personal avenues still to be explored in that realm.

All this to say that Trouble in Queenstown by Delia Pitts should be on your reading pile this summer. Vandy Myrick is going to be lurking around the corridors of crime fiction for many years to come.

BUY LINKS: Trouble in Queenstown by Delia Pitts

Disclaimer: A print galley of this title was provided to BOLO Books by the author. No promotion was promised and the above is an unbiased review of the novel.