Fledgling TCPI 2
This is the first full length book in the Tracy Cunningham, P.I. series. It begins where What's a girl like you … leaves off.
Tracy is hired to find a teen aged runaway. While she's involved with a complete make-over of her lifestyle, Tracy's case will lead her from Sausalito to the High Sierras, to two murders, extortion, white slavery and the local mafia family. More
Fledgling is the first full-length book in the Tracy Cunningham P.I. series. It opens where Back Story (What's a girl like you …) ends.
Tracy Cunningham rents an office in a converted World War Two warehouse in the industrial section of Sausalito. The only thing right about the office is the rent. She is working on a shoestring, and hasn't had a single client. Her cellphone rings.
The caller is a male, and says he got her name from Tracy's former escort service, the Eden Connection (EC). Really mad, because she is giving up that life, she slams the phone down, thinking, Sheese. It's not even noon yet!
The phone rings again. When she answers, the man shouts to wait a sec, he's not calling to get laid, he can't find her office, and he wants to hire her. She agrees to meet him in a local touristy restaurant.
Bradford, the client wants her to locate Stephanie, his runaway daughter, who left home two years ago when she was fifteen. When Tracy asks why he went to the EC, he says that his daughter was undoubtedly a hooker. How else could she earn money? And he also said Nora told him one of her best gals was going on her own as a private detective.
Tracy takes the job, and heads for the high school Stephanie attended before she left. Her class would be seniors now. There, she talks to the class counselor and discovers that Stephanie's boyfriend is still in school.
He is called into the front office. He denies knowing where Stephanie is, and Tracy gets nowhere with the kid. He leaves the office, and Tracy trots to where she can see the parking lot.
Tracy stakes out the parking lot. Her plan is to follow Jerry after school. He might lead her to Stephanie.
As he passes by Tracy, she ducks down in her car. As she does, a big school bus pulls alongside and double parks to load students. Once free, she can see which on-ramp Jerry takes. That's the last she sees of him.
Discouraged, she decides to go talk to someone at the police department. The only person she knows there was an almost-boyfriend, she heads up to homicide to see Sergeant Greg Phillips. The conversation quickly turns to her past.
Recently, Greg learned about Tracy's moon-lighting career. In defense, she tells him that she retired from the life, and is living on her bank account and a greasy hamburger a day.
After a horrible day and night drinking, Tracy hits bottom. She takes time to re-organize her new lifestyle. She skips out on a week's rent and moves into a boarding house. She abandons her warehouse office, leaving a few paperbacks for the next guy.
Next day, she tracks Jerry to an apartment house. She spots Stephanie in the lobby. When she meets her, Tracy changes allegiances. Too many things are not right.
Why does Bradford want Stephanie back now? It's been two years since she walked out. How did she survive the streets? What is the real operation at the apartment house?
Tracy and Steph hide out on an anchored tugboat. She contacts an attorney with offices nearby. While the lawyer is finding the local Mafia Consigliere, he asks Tracy to fill out a resume.
Several facts come to light. Stephanie is really a mafia princess. Her mother has been missing for almost five years. Her grandmother committed suicide. Her most loved relative was her grandfather, who passed away three years ago.
They head for the mountains, hopefully to find Angel Martucchi Bradford, Stephanie's mother. She may have information.
They discover her skeleton under the family cabin in Pinecrest CA. They have evidence that she was killed within a month after she left.
When Tracy finds out that Bradford shut off the utilities, things began to fall into place. In her new partner's office, before all parties, Tracy tells the group her story of what has happened.
Tracy now must mollify Greg, who is P.O.d that she didn't follow his orders, and that she became associated with a law firm as their in-house investigator.