Ten years before Easy Innocence, PI Georgia Davis was a police officer on the force in a Chicago suburb. And while homicides are rare on the North Shore, three bodies turn up in quick succession - all of them dumped in waste disposal dumpsters or landfills. The investigations into the murders test the mettle and professionalism of a combined police task force. Along the way, they also test the strength of Georgia's relationship with one of the detectives working the case. While Georgia, her detective boyfriend Matt, and his sometime partner John Stone pit their skills against those of an inventive killer, the daughter of a real estate mogul - who just happens to have her eye on Matt - complicates matters. A dark police procedural and thriller, Toxicity is a prequel to the Georgia Davis PI series (Easy Innocence and Doubleback).
©2011, 2012 Libby Fischer Hellmann (P)2012 Libby Fischer Hellmann
"Libby Fischer Hellmann's thriller Toxicity is as gritty as it is spellbinding. Populated with fully-realized characters, Toxicity introduces us to Hellmann's signature heroine, Georgia Davis. But we meet Georgia ten years earlier, when she is a young and determined rookie on a Chicago police force. In Georgia's debut, we see her tenacity and strength, but also her vulnerability: the seeds sown for the woman she will become. Toxicity works on all levels, drawing the reader inexorably into a web of deceit, heart-crushing loss, and righteous fury. This wicked brew explodes in a stunning and satisfying conclusion that answers every question. Hellmann pulls no punches." (J. Carson Black, best-selling author of The Shop and Darkness on the Edge of Town)
This is my first book by Libby Fischer Hellman... I know nothing of her Georgia Davis character and was surprised to see how little she appears in this book when it is plugged as a prequel to the series. Having said that she, Georgia, is the street cop "detective" that actually works it out what toxin is being used before the professionals figure it out..
What starts off to be a routine murder mystery suddenly twists and turns to be something so much more complex in its issues.
We also delve into the personal lives of the cops and the struggles they go through not only in their professional but also personal lives. Got to say Georgia's boyfriend left me wanting to smack him several times.
A rash of rather gruesome dead bodies have been turning up dumped in various places(obviously not where they had been killed). They appear to have no connection with each other..
As stated, at the beginning, this book was set before more advanced police toxicity procedures had been established and these poor detectives are at a loss as to what is happening here. I actually enjoyed the 'leg-work' involved in trying to solve these mysteries, not just a CSI easy fix.
There is a secondary story running through the background (at first) about a new housing estate being built on what could be toxic land and the heartbreaking story of sick children.
I must admit I did not see the ending or the bad-guy coming which in itself is a great achievement with a crime novel.
Going by this book I will be reading more from this author about her heroine Georgia
I haven't listened to any of Ms Hellmann's other Georgia Davis audiobooks yet; but, since "ToxiCity" falls chronologically before the other episodes (even though it was published after the others), I decided to listen to it first. Now I am looking forward to hearing the other novels in the Georgia Davis series. Ms Hellmann clearly possesses encyclopedic knowledge of Chicago police procedures; and she doesn't pull her punches. We encounter several dead bodies -- and not just human bodies -- in egregious conditions. I can't say that I envy these cops their jobs. At the time of this story (ca 2000?), Georgia Davis is still working as a uniformed police officer in a Chicago suburb. By unearthing a key piece of the mystery, she gets her first taste of detective work, setting her on track toward her future P.I. career. However, in this episode, Ms Hellmann gives us not just one, but three protagonists, each puzzling out a different aspect of the mystery, and through whose eyes we witness the solution emerging. Like all of us, these three people are simultaneously juggling their own, ordinary life issues -- like relationships and faith, for instance -- allowing us to see them as real people, about whom we can care. Via intermittent flashbacks, Ms Hellmann even teaches us to care about the villain of this story!
I have never listened to one of Robin Rowan's narrations before "ToxiCity," but now I suspect that we will be hearing more from her in future audiobooks. She has a beautiful, feminine, whispery voice that she can immediately change to gruff, gravely, shrill, or deep, as the character warrants. This valuable acting chop comes into play, especially, when one character interrupts another. (I have tried it -- trust me, it's hard to make a quick vocal switch like that!)
I recommend “ToxiCity” to any mystery-lover who doesn’t mind a touch of urban grit.
Retired former magazine editor who is working harder than ever as Mr. Dad to his 12-year-old daughter.
I really wanted to give this book four or five stars because the author, who noticed that I read and review numerous mystery/thrillers, asked me to review one of hers. So I downloaded ToxiCity and Easy Innocence. Even thought the events in ToxiCity occur before the events in Easy Innocence (it is a prequel in the Georgia Davis series), it was written after Easy Innocence (and another Georgia Davis book) was written. Maybe I should have listened to Easy Innocence first because this offering did not leave me salivating for more Georgia. On the positive side, it gave the listener an opportunity to put clues together and deduce whodunit and why. After the second "years earlier" chapter, the mystery easily came together. It was just a matter of ascertaining methods and details. Hellmann made a compelling story as to why the murders took place and the methods employed by the "bad guys." Some of the dynamics of the story didn't work for me, such as the "lust at first sight" that developed between Ricki Feldman and Matt Singer. I also wish that Hellmann had left the intimacies that occurred between Georgia and Matt more to the imagination of the listener, but that's just a personal preference. Listeners with a Jewish background or a good knowledge of that faith will be at an advantage when listening to this story. If your knowledge of Jewish customs and tradition is limited, you might, at times, be lost. Probably the one thing that bothered me the most about this prequel is that Georgia Davis played a very minor role in the story. She was third in line when it came to the law enforcement officers who had the most impact (even though we learned it was Georgia's research that ultimately broke the case). I'm also not an expert as to the probabilities of a rather timid, law-abiding person being turned into a crazed serial killer, but this character development seemed to be a bit of a stretch to me. Not a bad book, not a good book. I am hopeful that I can award those four or five stars after listening to Easy Innocence. In any event, I have a sneaking suspicion I'll probably learn more about Georgia in that one than I did in ToxiCity.
We read to know, we are not alone ~ C.S. Lewis
In what she calls the prequel to her Georgia Davis mysteries, Hellmann again leads us through a chilling mystery that is grounded in past and present, impeccably researched and characters that are well defined and wholly human.
This story centers on a series of puzzling murders, toxic waste sites, cancer clusters and revenge. With a good dose of homegrown separatist groups and the paranoia that is their genesis, detailing of the frustrations inherent in police work and several clues that are detailed for the reader, the masses of information are provided in simple pieces that don’t feel overwhelming.
Relationships are all prominently on display here as well, both current and in flashback: from a rather one-sided romance between Georgia and Singer, the overload of guilt that Singer is subjected to as his family cannot embrace Georgia fully since she is not Jewish, to Singer’s undeniable “grass is greener” attraction to Riki, the interpersonal details and inclusions are spectacular. Their inclusion helps to flush out the story and provide needed background information that enhances your understanding of the characters and fixes them in your brain.
My only complaint with the audiobook version was in the narration. Sadly, Robin Rowan worked to make distinct voices and accents for each character, that were often more distracting than had she simply made minor changes in pitch and pace. The inclusion of varying accents, which were then detailed in the character’s words, provided a dissonance that was noticeable and occasionally broke the flow of what was being said.
I should, at this point make note that when I had agreed to review this AudioBook, I did not realize that I had purchased a kindle copy of this particular title nearly six months ago. A fortuitous discovery, as I was also able to test out the “whispersync” feature. Whispersync allows you to purchase the audio book at a discounted price if you have the kindle version, and you can use this handy and clever application to alternate between reading and listening, with both versions integrating seamlessly.
I did receive the AudioBook version of this book from the author for purpose of honest review for the Heard Word promotion at I am, Indeed. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
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