Tai Randolph, the heroine up to her Georgia neck in trouble in Tina Whittle’s debut novel, “The Dangerous Edge of Things,” has just inherited the family’s gun shop in Atlanta. She’s only been in town a week when she finds a body in a car parked across the street from her brother’s house. But, her gun shop co-owner brother is on his way to the Bahamas, she may be in danger, a detective has her in his sights as a suspect, and a hunky private security agent may be the only person keeping her from harm. Not that she can’t take care of herself.
Tai Randolph is a great character, with just enough sass, savvy intelligence, and fierce independence to keep us reading and chuckling while Whittle develops the intriguing plot. The brother is covering up a LOT, but why? The security guy has an assignment tied to the murder, but how? The detective seems to know more than he’s telling. And why is everyone trying to keep Tai out of the loop? She has no intention of staying away from the action and manages to stay a step ahead of her protectors until they give up and include her in the plans. After all, she has her name to clear and a Confederate gun shop to open.
Whittle has written some worthy supporting characters with quirks that never get in the way of the story, while adding texture and depth to the subplots. The field security agent, Trey Seaver, is easy on the eyes, but has a few important flaws. Rico, a close friend, is a whiz at the techy stuff. Detective Garrity is nicely nuanced and believable, as is the rest of the cast. The storyline kept me engrossed until the surprising end – a terrific debut.
I was so impressed after finishing “The Dangerous Edge of Things” that I chose book #3, “Blood, Ash & Bone,” as my next read.
“Blood, Ash & Bone” returns Tai to her former hometown, Savannah, in search of a Civil War era Bible, that if it really exists, may have gone missing from General Sherman’s effects. Lots of people are after this Bible, including her scumbag ex-boyfriend and the gal who may have stolen it from him. Did I mention that the gal used to be Tai’s best friend and that she ran off with the scumbag? No more besties, for sure.
Happily, Armani wearing Trey, best pal Rico, and Detective Dan Garrity are back and Whittle has done a superb job of supplying Tai with a blend of their expertise that helps her at just the right moments. Tai’s brother, an industrial psychologist in “The Dangerous Edge of Things,” has returned as well, and other relatives new to the series, are Southern gems.
Assorted other characters have no interest in being nice to Tai – their collective eyes are on the big, Confederate prize. Will multi-faceted Tai get out of this in one piece? Will she be able to overcome her dead Uncle Dexter’s shortcomings as a record-keeper when it’s time for the ATF audit of the gun shop? With the KKK, big money, ghosts from Tai’s past, Civil War collectors, and much more in the mix, this is one page-turning treat.
Tina has written five books in the series, the most recent being “Reckoning and Ruin.” Start with “The Dangerous Edge of Things” and read them all.
For more information about Tina Whittle, the Tai Randolph series and her other work, please visit www.tinawhittle.com