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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.

416 pages, Hardcover

First published June 18, 2013

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About the author

Ingrid Thoft

15 books192 followers
INGRID THOFT was born in Boston and is a graduate of Wellesley College. Her interest in the PI life and her desire to create a believable PI character led her to the certificate program in private investigation at the University of Washington. She lives in Seattle with her husband.

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449 (27%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 342 reviews
Profile Image for S.A..
Author 45 books91 followers
September 26, 2013
Diet soda with syrup-coated pancakes. Diet soda with shrimp tempura. Diet soda with Mallomars. Diet soda with candy bars. Diet soda with a side of diet soda... OK, I made up that last one.

Once I finished this book, all I could think I wished I had this in a Word doc so I could count all the diet soda references. That’s not what I should remember about this book. It’s like when I finished the last Stieg Larsson book, "The Girl Who Kicked the Cashbox", where I mostly remembered people eating sandwiches and drinking coffee. If PI Fina Ludlow, child of wealth and power, had been hooked on something like diet Mountain Dew, it would be a great joke. No, instead we just have generic “diet soda” references by the barrelful.

With this book, we’re promised a tough female PI. Fina Ludlow curses a lot, likes to screw two different yet hot men, eats junk food yet never gains weight, and bitches about her family. She bitches about her family as many times as she drinks diet soda—oh yes, that much— yet she still works for the family law firm. Say what? Tough girl Fina is still behold to her family for her job, although author Throft makes sure she throws in that Fina runs her own business, yes indeed, although most of Fina’s cases come from the family law firm. I suppose Fina is tough since she seems to adore getting the crap beaten out of here yet refuses to go to a hospital until she’s ready to pass out. That’s not tough, it’s stupid.

Let’s see what clichés we can spot in this story, okay? Bitchy mother and overbearing, dismissive father. Check. Loyal, hotter than hot fuckbuddy who seems willing to drop everything for Fina. Check. Hunky cop fuckbuddy willing to leak news to Fina. Check. Troubled spoiled teen. Check. Loyal older mentor who taught Fina everything she knows and his motherly, understanding wife, more of a mother to Fina than the bitch. Check. Wimpy brothers who work for the family law firm because they’re too spineless to strike out on their own. Check.

Do I need to go on? In the long run, aside from a few good one-liners, Fina is highly irritating. Her family is so despicable I ended up not caring about the main murder mystery. I actually hoped someone would toss a wasp nest into the next family outing. That might be exciting.

I only finished this book because I wanted to see if what I suspected was true and ta-da, it was true.

Never fear, I suspect feisty, fucked-up Fina will have her series where she’s beat up on a regular basis, fucks her fuckbuddies and eats waffles with whipped cream washed downed with, you guessed it, diet soda. Yawn. Let me know when someone tosses the wasp nest.

Profile Image for Larraine.
934 reviews14 followers
July 3, 2013
I wish I could remember how I first learned about this book. However that happened, I'm glad I did. I put it on reserve at the library a few months ago and just finished it. This is the first novel that the author has published. It is a crime novel with a female PI named Fina (short for Josefina) Ludlow. Fina comes from a family of very wealthy attorneys who have made a name for themselves in Boston as a firm that takes care of the little guy - the person whose doctor botched their delivery or misdiagnosed an illness. They have a reputation for skirting the law, and the Boston PD would love to be able to pin something on them.

Fina is the youngest of four children, 3 of whom are her older brothers: Rand, Scotty and Matthew. She flunked out of law school - to her delight - and has become the firm's investigator. She knows how to handle herself and a gun, lives on junk food without getting fat, and has two good looking guys - her masseur and a cop - who are both friends with benefits.

When Fina's sister-in-law is missing, the firm pulls out all the stops to find her before the cops get wind of it and start nosing around. Melanie, the missing sister-in-law, is married to Rand, the brother whom her father has spent a lot of time and money getting out of trouble over the years. As the investigation progresses, it becomes obvious that Rand is STILL getting into trouble despite himself. After a few weeks of being missing, Melanie's body washes up on the shore. Now the fun REALLY begins.

The "blurb" on the inside cover of this this book compares Fina to Kinsey Milhone in the Sue Grafon books.I actually don't think they have that much in common other than Kinsey's love of a McDonald's cheeseburger. It also compares her to Kay Scarpetta. Don't think so. Scarpetta doesn't exactly have a terrific sense of humor. I haven't read Warshowski so I'll defer to that one. Fina Ludlow is an appealing new character in a genre that is becoming increasingly crowded. Ms. Thoft's writing skills make the difference here. Excellent book!
Profile Image for Amanda.
Author 11 books10 followers
July 15, 2013
Just finished Ingrid Thoft's debut novel "Loyalty" and absoutely loved it!!! :D It's a mystery novel about Boston PI Fina Ludlow who is investigating the dissaperance of her sister-in-law Melanie while working for her father & brother's "Mad Men" style lawfirm, and things just spiral out of control for her, her friends, and her family.

Fina is such an amazing character and I just loved her!!! :D She's the type of PI you want and like a grown up "Veronica Mars". Her family is so messed up but they are still loyal to each other. She has such rocky relationships with her parents & older brother Rand, but very great and loving relationships with her other brothers Scotty & Matthew, sister-in-law Patty, the firm's ex PI Frank and his wife Peg, and her niece & nephews. Plus she's got a different love triangle going on with her school friend Milloy and a cop Cristian. I love Cristian but I'm pulling for her and Milloy together. LOL ;)

So many twists in this and action packed. I just loved it and I can't wait for the 2nd book in this new "Fina Ludlow" series!!! :D
Profile Image for Jenny.
691 reviews38 followers
July 15, 2013
Received this book through Goodreads First Reads. I really enjoyed this book!

The characters were very strong throughout the story. The main character, Fina, was especially strong and likable throughout the entire story. The interactions between her and her family, as well as people she worked with, were enjoyable and realistic.

I really enjoyed the plot of this story. There was a lot of stuff going on and a lot of mystery, right up until the very end. The author has you thinking right from the beginning that certain people are the most likely suspects, then throws new information at the reader that leaves them thinking otherwise.

This book would have been a 5-star book but I felt that the ending got a little confusing- which brought the book down to a 4. Still, this book was immensely enjoyable! I would highly recommend it to lovers of mysteries and PI novels!
Profile Image for Dawn.
512 reviews
June 27, 2015
Although I enjoyed the plot (clues and suspense well timed; path to conclusion clear and well-defined), the best thing about "Loyalty" is its characters, with private investigator Josefina (Fina) Ludlow, who works on cases for her family, at the top of the list.

Fina oozes charisma; I loved her character. She's comfortable to be around, is admirably persistent and resilient, never gives up, has a sweet tooth, a sense of humor, a love of adventure, a crazy family she loves anyway, and she's smart. Also, a nice mix: Although Fina occasionally breaks some rules in order to get the job done, she's got a conscience and a protective streak.

In addition to Fina's character, I found myself growing more attached to both of Fina's love interests - Cristian, a cop; and Milloy, a massage therapist. Both men are warm, concerned, and involved in different ways in Fina's work.

Ultimately, when the mystery is solved, Fina is faced with some difficult decisions. For her family (they resemble a Mafia family - Dad is controlling and a tough nut to crack; Mom is cold and critical; brother Rand is a hot-headed jerk; but brothers Scotty and Mathew are decent human beings), loyalty is everything. But when Fina must make a choice between loyalty to two different family members, she finds her future spot within the family in jeopardy.
81 reviews
December 3, 2013
I read about "Loyalty"in Bookpages and was drawn to it not only for its' good review but because it was a mystery and took place in MA, mostly Boston (my old homestate/residence).
Once I started reading I couldn't put it down. It reminded me of Sue Grafton's alphabet series and Parker's Spencer novels. The main character (Fina) is single, feisty and of her own mind, never bowing to her family's considerable wealth and influence. What starts out with Fina trying to locate a missing sister-in-law uncovers murder, attempted murder, prostitution, coverups and worse. It ends w/all being revealed and the reader not knowing how Fina will fare w/her family, esp. her parents who are loathe to believe anything bad of their offspring (except Fina).
I hope that the author is working on a sequel (please!!!) and, if that is the case, plan on being first in line to read it.
Profile Image for Chelle Protzman.
10 reviews2 followers
June 1, 2013
This was a very well written, keep you on your toes, kind of book. Unlike a lot of movies and books where you can figure out the entire book within the first few chapters this book kept me reading until the very end. It is a rarity in this regard. The characters are well written and well defined for the most part.
The only things I did not like about this book were: 1) There was entirely too much cussing for my taste, especially from the main character, who is a woman. I would not have wanted to watch this as a movie and probably would have turned it off. 2) Even though the book was set in Boston, which I found interesting, I am a huge NY Yankees fan and there was too much Boston Red Sox in it. (just a personal funny note).
1 review
December 14, 2013
Found this book in the small library in my apartment building. Started reading and, tried and true, couldn't put it down. This is a first book, the main character is a woman P.I. that works for her family of attorneys. She is relentless, funny, tough and believable.

Was so impressed with the book that I wrote to Ingrid Thoft and thanked her for writing something gritty instead of fluffy, and that, in my opinion, there are not enough good women mystery writers.

Got a reply from her, thanking me and letting me know the second book in the series will be out in June. So, I'm marking my calendar.

Profile Image for Nancy McFarlane.
599 reviews114 followers
March 16, 2013
Wow! Fina Ludlow is one cool, new heroine who is tough as nails. A PI for her family firm of prestigious, high-powered personal injury attorneys, Fina has to make decisions that could make her even more of a black sheep than she already is. Sassy, smart and hard hitting -- what more could you ask for in a great new PI novel?
Profile Image for Sue Perry.
Author 21 books52 followers
August 4, 2013
When I started this book I expected to give it 4 stars, maybe 5. The set up was strong and fun. The tangle of plot threads intrigued. The family dynamics entertained. And you really can't have too many detectives with Attitude, so it was a pleasure to meet another one. Also, early on, there was an absolutely great line about how children are like NASA launches - you can invest lots of money and time in them only to see them go quickly off course. (Sorry I can't provide the actual quote - i loaned my copy of the book to a friend.) But as the pages turned, my enthusiasm waned. The detective lost some appeal when she became preoccupied with wardrobe changes and when she turned out to be well nigh perfect (wealthy, smart, gorgeous, ballsy and more). The threats against the detective felt increasingly manufactured rather than intrinsic to the plot. The shocking family secret was telescoped waaay in advance. There were many references to real places and neighborhoods in the Boston area, yet overall the book was low on atmosphere. And by the end of the first book in this series, I am already tired of the family. Because I loved the first third of this, I would try another book in this series, to see whether the stuff that bothers me was tied to this particular book, or persists through the series.
I got this book for free from LibraryThing in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Samantha.
88 reviews1 follower
July 22, 2013
A really fun read. Sure, the main character, a female PI, is somewhat of a cliché - She loves cheeseburgers and has cookies for breakfast! She eats whatever she wants and all the time, but she has the "metabolism of a hummingbird" and still stays skinny! She has multiple 'friends with benefits' but doesn't want to commit to a relationship and doesn't need a man! [Good for her, but still, ultimately, somewhat of a cliché in this genre.] However, I found Fina amazingly likable without being cloying and the book itself is an interesting and very realistic, I think, portrait of actual PIs' work. [The author's bio mentions she attended the certification program in private investigation at the University of Washington as research for the book.]

My local public library had labeled the spine as "suspense," but if that or a thriller is what you're looking for, this isn't really the book for you. Still, what you WILL find is a well-paced and interesting mystery that's difficult to put down.
Profile Image for Taylor.
Author 7 books38 followers
May 6, 2014
I heart Fina. I’m a female private investigator junkie. Like I absolutely love books with female PI’s. And this one did not disappoint. Fina’s character was witty, powerful and strong (just to name of few). So much action in this book. I could not put it down!! Looking forward to her next book!
6 reviews
September 29, 2013
This debut novel is a page turner. It is not a "cozy mystery." Her main character, Fina, is a private detective who works for her Father's law firm. She's an aggressive determined woman.

The writer has avoided the verbose style, much in the manner of vintage Dick Francis. Perhaps she has been a newspaper reporter in her past.

I highly recommend this book and eagerly await the next Fina mystery due out next summer.

Profile Image for Alen Yen.
1 review1 follower
April 8, 2013
Awesome read. Fina is a great character with tremendous appeal. Last 80 pages or so are knuckle-gripping...
Profile Image for Bonnie Brody.
1,190 reviews187 followers
October 7, 2013
It's hard to believe that Loyalty is a debut novel. Ingrid Thoft has a way with words and dialog that makes the reader feel like she is in the company of an accomplished writer.

The book is a mystery/thriller with a great protagonist named Fina Ludlow. She is part of THE Ludlow clan, a large conclomerate of defense attorneys in the Boston area all working for Fina's father Carl. Fina flunked out of law school and became a private investigator. She usually does work for her fathers or brothers and, in this book, her job is no exception. Her brother Rand's wife, Melanie, disappears and as the days go by it looks bleaker and bleaker .

As Fina searches for Melanie and then for her murderer, she is faced with deadly information about a slew of people, including her own family. Fina is one tough cookie and she is just as likely to pull a gun as she is to wear a thong. Her best friend is a hunky guy named Milloy who is a masseur by trade an Fina's occasional lover. There is also the handsome police officer, Christian, with whom Fina likes to share business and sex with.

The plot gets a little too complicated but this is a real page turner and a fun book to boot. I highly look forward to more books by Ms. Thoft.
6 reviews1 follower
June 16, 2013
Fina Ludlow is a great new hot,tough,pull no punches PI in the book Loyalty by Ingrid Thoft.

Fina's Father and her three Brothers are lawyers,worse they are personal injury lawyers which means very few people are what you would call friendly to the firm. When Fina fails law school she goes to work for the family firm as a private investigator.

When her sister-in-law disapears she is told to solve the case and solve it fast.Fina plows into the case with her very unique style.The style is Oh thet looks like a hornet nest let me hit it four or five times with this stick to be sure.

Luckly she has people willing and able to help. A very sexy police detective and an even sexier friend and masseur among them.

I am looking forward to see Fina Ludlow and author Ingrid Thoft grow as a character and a writer.

I received a copy of this book in a giveaway.

Bruce Hamilton
Profile Image for Veronica .
744 reviews177 followers
September 19, 2016
3.5 stars

Josefina Ludlow, Fina to her family and friends, is the youngest in a sibling set of four. She has four older brothers who all followed their domineering father into the legal profession and who now all work in his powerful, personal injury law firm. Fina, having flunked out of law school, still contributes to the family business by working as the private investigator for many of their cases. But this time around, when a member of the family goes missing, things get personal really quickly and some unpleasant truths may surface.

This was an enjoyable book and I found Fina to be a strong and likable character. She's 34 years old, single, has no children, and has no urge to change her status in any way, shape, or form. She has a couple of men in her life, Christian and Milloy, who function as friends with benefits. I wouldn't classify it as a true love triangle since the men are aware of each other and don't seem to to have an issue with the arrangements. Yay for Fina, lol. She's snarky but not overly so and, as the song says, she knows when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em. About the only annoying thing about her is her penchant to eat copious amounts of junk food without gaining any weight.

The story is told in third person mostly with a focus on Fina. However, there are also some additional character threads that are not immediately identified and it is only as the story moves along that the connections start to become apparent. It was an interesting plot device and it kept the story moving forward at a smooth and easy pace. Not that anything was smooth and easy for Fina, who took her fair share of lumps. Overall, I was pulled enough into Fina's world that I'll be on the lookout for the rest of the books.
Profile Image for Maureen.
174 reviews95 followers
April 1, 2018
This was the first in the series featuring Fina Ludlow, private investigator, a quirky character who is employed by her family's personal injury law practice. I love this series. Fina is a hard-drinking, hard-loving, moody and quirky detective. She's funny and her relationship with her father and brothers who run the firm is often at odds.

This was her first book and I've read books 3 & 4 and loved them all. I also loved that they were set in Boston, 30 miles from me and I recognize so many of the locations, but I highly recommend it to anyone who loves Sue Grafton, or Sara Paretsky. 5 stars and can't wait for Ingrid's next book.
Profile Image for Shannon Lynne.
11 reviews1 follower
May 30, 2013
I could not put this book down. its a smart, edgy novel written to keep the reader on the edge of their seat!. A tale of engrossing family drama at its with a style all its own.
Profile Image for Luanne Ollivier.
1,675 reviews86 followers
July 15, 2013
3.5/5 Loyalty is Ingrid Thoft's debut novel.

Fina Ludlow lives and works in Boston for the family firm. Law firm that is. Her father and three brothers are all attorneys but Fina bucked tradition and became the firm's private investigator.

When Fina's sister-in-law Melanie goes missing, patriarch Carl Ludlow sets Fina on the case. The police department's prime suspect is her brother Rand - Melanie's husband. But there's no way Rand would have killed Melanie. Right? As Fina digs into Melanie's life, someone else is just as determined that she drop the investigation.

But that's just like a red flag to a bull for our protagonist. Thoft has created a mentally and physical strong, tough, wise-cracking character who seems to thrive on antagonism. But, she has some soft spots underneath that tough exterior. Thoft mixes in healthy doses of family dynamics of all shades - hence the 'loyalty' title.

Thoft starts things off with a bang, with lots of characters rapidly introduced in the first few chapters. I did find myself backtracking a bit, until I got who was who straightened out. I'm thinking this is the first in a new series, so it seems like Thoft was simply setting the stage.

Fina is a strong personality. I immediately liked her and appreciated her personality, determination and fearlessness. But by the last third of the book I thought this had been firmly established with the reader and found it a bit tiresome to be reminded of this again and again through comments from supporting characters.

Loyalty was well plotted, with lots of action, (how many times can Fina get attacked!?) some humour and yet some serious moments as well. The end result can be seen from several chapters away, but that didn't detract from enjoying the journey there.

I chose to listen to Loyalty. The reader was Rebecca Soler. I must admit, I wasn't sold on her as a narrator at first. Her voice seemed very young - almost teenaged. When I looked up other books she had narrated, I found she has read several young adult titles - it was Cinder I was remembering. But once I started forming a picture of the character, the voice worked. Soler has a very expressive voice and her interpretation of Fina's snappy dialogue was excellent and suited this sassy, shoot from the hip P.I. As I mentioned, there are many players - Soler gave each a distinctive voice and/or accent so I was able to easily know who was talking. (The southern madam was particularly good) She has a clear voice that made it easy to catch every word. (Gentle listeners be warned - there is a fair amount of swearing sprinkled throughout)

Fina is a great new personality on the female P.I. front - a cross between V.I. Warshawski and Stephanie Plum. I'm sure there will be more cases for this intrepid investigator. This was a great summer read for this listener - many a pint of raspberries was picked during the 12 hours of running time!
244 reviews2 followers
May 28, 2015
I was skeptical about reading this because the reviews on here were mostly so/so. I'm so glad I read it anyway because it was a great mystery.
I couldn't put the book down after I got to the middle, and while the mystery may have been a little predictable there were so many sub-plots that I was intrigued up until the end. Overall a great first book by a new author, I hope more Fina books will follow.

Fina, the black sheep of an all lawyer personal injury family is the firm's PI. Her newest assignment is finding out what happened to her missing sister-in-law, Melanie. When Melanie washes up dead, Fina's brother becomes the prime suspect. There are multiple attempts on Fina's life as she digs deeper into the case. And Fina's niece gets mixed up with a madam, who coincidentally has it out for Fina's family after they won a big med-mal case against her son causing his medical license to be suspended. Ultimately, madam and her secret business partner killed Melanie to get back at Fina's brother but biggest twist was the brother had been sexually molesting the niece for years which led her to the madam.
Profile Image for Tia Lappe.
124 reviews2 followers
January 25, 2020
If I could go back in time and stop me from reading this book, I would! It looked so promising from the description but it was a major disappointment. You can most likely figure this book out within the first 50 pages or less.

Which makes me wonder, why it needed 479 pages? To hear Fina go on and on complaining about her family, yet jumping when they ask her to? To read every time she drinks a diet soda with her junk food meals? A very irritating and unlikeable main character.

The book had a decent amount of characters and virtually none of them had any redeeming aspects of their personality. Most of he characters were annoying and unlikeable. I found myself rooting for them all to fail. There was one, Haley, that I don't dislike by the end of the book.

Overall, I'm glad to be done with this book.

One of the worst books I have ever read.
677 reviews18 followers
July 5, 2013
"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."

Loyalty is by no means a work of any literary value, but it was entertaining. I really enjoyed the tough-as-nails main character, who doesn't take no for an answer and defies all the modern standards of how one is supposed to live. I liked reading her snappy dialogue with some of the other characters, and how she took a very practical approach to life.

The writing in Loyalty is by no means remarkable though. It wasn't suspenseful, or particularly compelling. Just okay. It's not one of those mysteries where the reader is drawn in and just can't stop reading. Kind of like The Prodigal Son, actually.

Nevertheless, I did enjoy the mystery of it, and wanted to find out what happened. I think Loyalty painted a very good portrait of what a high-powered and somewhat corrupt family's life is like. Although as in many hard-boiled detective type mysteries, the world in the novel seems so alien from everyday life. I find it kind of hard to believe that a family like the Ludlows would actually exist. They're a half legal, half criminal group of lawyers and investigators.

There were so many different parts of the mystery, and I must say that they didn't always fit together cohesively. The characters would get mixed up in my head, and sometimes there were just too many threads to think about at once. Seventy pages in, Fina hadn't made much progress at all in the investigation, and nothing was coming to light. I like to start getting hints of what's really happening earlier on.

The characters really were confusing. There were so many different members of the family; almost too many brothers. Most of Fina's brothers aren't really characterized at all; they're just there to fill out the family and give Fina more family tension. Even Rand isn't described very much. There were also a lot of other secondary characters that didn't seem to serve much function.

After about 100 pages, the story started heating up when certain things happen. Let's just say that Fina gets beaten up a lot throughout the book. Everything was still kind of confusing though. I literally had no idea where the mystery was going, which was in some ways a good thing, and in other ways not so good. Additionally, at the very beginning, the reader reads about someone being kidnapped and drowning; we assume it's Melanie, but I kind of found myself doubting whether it was Melanie or whether the author was trying to trick me into believing that it was Melanie. That was certainly very interesting, and it made the book more pressing to read through. It definitely started getting much more suspenseful as it went on, and the book improved a lot. Gradually, the different parts of the mystery started coming together, and the climax was very good.

Ultimately, Loyalty was very good, although it got off to a slow start. It was certainly different than I was expecting, but I did like it, and it was one of those books that got better as you read. Thanks to Putnam for providing me with a review copy.

Profile Image for Ethan.
644 reviews98 followers
August 5, 2013
As the title would suggest, there is extreme loyalty amongst the members of the Ludlow family. Loyalty to themselves, each other, and most importantly to their father, Carl. But this loyalty goes far beyond the ties of family. Besides being their father, Carl is also their boss. He heads a high-powered law firm where each of his children work. His three sons all partners at the firm, follow a strict diet, religious exercise routine, and do everything in their power to keep their father happy. Fina, the sole surviving daughter of the family, could not be more different. She never did the law school thing, opting instead to apprentice with the firm's private investigator. Now, as the lead investigator for the firm, she brings her irreverent spontaneity to everything she does. To be clear, she still has a strong loyalty to her family, but she definitely has her own unique way of showing it.

The family is rocked when Melanie, the wife of brother Rand Ludlow goes missing. This isn't the first time this has happened. In fact, there has always been tension between Rand, Melanie, and their teenage daughter Haley, but this time things are different. Following an argument with her husband at their daughter's school the day before, she is literally nowhere to be found. Even worse for the family, all evidence points to Rand as being responsible for her disappearance. Rand is no stranger to minor run ins with the law, but he insists that he had nothing to do with this. With the police, who naturally have a frayed relationship with the family of lawyers to begin with, begin investigating Rand, Carl tasks Fina with getting to the bottom of things.

In Fina, author Ingrid Thoft has imagined a fireball of a character who isn't afraid to get her hands dirty to find the truth. As she investigates, she is forced to battle her own emotions and decide whether to place her loyalty in her own sense of moral justice, or in the family that she has devoted her life to. Reminiscent of an early Kay Scarpetta or Stephanie Plum, Fina is the kind of strong, endearing female character that you can't help but root for. In addition to the suspenseful mystery, Thoft involves Fina in an unconventional love triangle that gives us glimpses into her sympathetic if not a little bit twisted psyche. The mystery of itself does become a bit predictable towards the end, but the fun is in witnessing this entertaining character discover the secrets. With Loyalty, her debut novel, Ingrid Thoft has quickly established her place in crime fiction through her strong characters, suspenseful pacing, and charming wit.
Profile Image for Larry.
1,410 reviews79 followers
August 3, 2013
Fina (Josefina) Ludlow is a private investigator. Much of her work comes from her family's massively successful personal injury-oriented law firm, where her father and three brothers hustle nonstop for money and clout. Fina's family is an empowered mess. (One person says, and Fina agrees, that growing up in the Ludlow clan was like being raised by wolves.) Now one of her sisters-in-law is missing, or worse, and Fina is put on the case by her father. Butr is her primary task to find the missing woman or to protect the woman's husband, Fina's unpleasant brother? There's a lot to like in the first novel: very good secondary characters, a truly alarming family dynamic among the Ludlows, grudges too numerous to count, and a truly snarky central character. Fina's tradecraft isn't up to Kenzie/Gennaro or Spenser, but it's not bad. The parallel story that takes a while to unwind, is fairly interesting, as well. The book could have been a three-star book due to some drag in the middle and a lot of pointless attitude on the part of Fina and her father, but it hangs in there to an almost predictable end that nonetheless ratchets up some tension. I'll reaf the second one.
Profile Image for Jim.
495 reviews19 followers
April 25, 2014
Fina Ludlow is from a family of lawyers, but she isn’t cut from the same cloth as her siblings and her father. Instead, she works as a private investigator for the family law firm. She is aggressive and at times abrasive, a loner who pushes the envelope. Fina has an additional problem on her newest case. She must investigate her brother, who is accused of murder. Her father expects her to act in the best interest of the family, but some of what she learns leads her to question where her loyalty lies. Is it with her family or with the truth?

I appreciated both the well formed three dimensional characters and the quick paced plot of LOYALTY. Fina Ludlow is great; I look forward to reading her next escapade . Gritty and determined, she is a bulldog who won’t let go and is not afraid to stand up to anyone. I saw a lot of Sara Paretsky’s sleuth V.I. Warshawski in her. If you are a fan of detective mysteries like I am, then I think you will find this novel to be a most satisfying read.
352 reviews
March 21, 2014
Loyalty is a debut novel that introduces Fina Ludlow, a Boston PI--who flunked out of law school--and is from a family of high octane attorneys that focus on profits, not right or wrong. Early on we meet Fina and her family--some pleasant, but most irritating louts. Chaos reigns when Fina's sister-in-law is missing and Fina is asked to find her. The best parts of the book are when Fina is chasing clues to find her sister-in-law and not interacting with her family. The novel is an entertaining page-turner, but it is one of those novels best read and skimmed in parts as the plot is a bit thin. In particular the family dynamics are irritating to the point of nausea and Fina is a shallow character. Still, I enjoyed the book enough to think that the author's next novel will bring a new and more mature and focused Fina.
Profile Image for Kelsie.
81 reviews
August 20, 2017
Ingrid Thoft is trying to make Fina a more vulgar Stephanie Plum and it doesn't work. I had a really hard time getting into the book because I couldn't stand Fina as a character. I didn't like the writing style -- too many minute details thrown in randomly that didn't add anything to the story except confusion as to why the author took this moment to describe everything on the breakfast tray. Also, when it tries to get serious at the end, it's too late. It feels superficial and hurried.
Profile Image for Laura.
30 reviews
August 20, 2013
Someone at Entertainment Weekly (where this book received an "A" rating) is obviously returning a favor.
Profile Image for Jonathan.
588 reviews36 followers
June 12, 2017
Really 3.5 stars, but I rounded up.

I first heard about Ingrid Thoft when she joined one of my favorite blogs, Jungle Red Writers, a blog dedicated to a group of women who write crime fiction (other "cozy" members include Rhys Bowen, Jenn McKinlay, Hank Phillippi Ryan, and Lucy Burdette). Soon after she joined the blog, I picked up a copy of her first book at a used book store and it's sat on my shelf since. I was wanting a faster-paced mystery this weekend, so I decided to pick up this book, and boy, was it faster paced! Loyalty was a fast-paced, gripping read that kept me at the edge of my seat.

I loved Fina. Absolutely loved her. She was a no-nonsense, strong, smart, and funny MC who didn't care what others thought of her. Milloy and Christian were also interesting characters, and I loved the scenes with both of them. Scotty and the rest of Fina's family were well-written and fleshed out.

The setting is beautiful Boston, and it well-described, but the real star is the mystery. This mystery had so many different parts to it that I never thought they would come together, but they did, and when they did, they made complete sense. The mystery alone deserves five stars.

However, there were a few aspects I didn't like about the book, mostly because the book wasn't cozy, so some topics cozy mysteries tend to steer clear of this book touched on.

Overall a solid book. Next time I want a mystery that's not quite cozy, I'll get the second in this series.
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