ROB LEININGER – January Cold Kill. Gabrielle Johns #1. CreateSpace, softcover, 2014. Also available on Kindle.

   Who knew that it snows all the time in Reno in January? Two to three inches at a time. Maybe more. It doesn’t interfere in any way with Gabbi’s latest case, though; it only provides an interesting backdrop to it, which involves an old school friend, Ashley Dinsmore, who’s being stalked in a very unusual way.

   To wit: he has pictures of her in a, shall we say, a very compromising way. What he wants, though, is not at all clear. Blackmail? Not a hint of it. Instead, he calls her on the phone and more, follows her around everywhere she goes, and all the while declaring his undying love for her.

   Gabbi herself is as much a part of the story as the puzzle itself. She is a statuesque blonde former showgirl who for a while was an assistant to her former father-in-law who is a PI (her name is still on the door). But even though while doing so she discovered a knack of picking locks, she is now a professional gambler and doing quite well at it. She can’t turn down an old school friend, though, especially with such a strange case to work on.

   Gabbi tells her own story, and quite wittily too. From the 77% point on my Kindle:

   I had dinner with Bill. I brought over wine and French bread and he cooked. Spaghetti. Once, in an adventurous mood or in a never-to-be-repeated fit of optimism, I tried to cook spaghetti. It congealed into a noodly-looking gray mass that might have had industrial or scientific significance, I threw it out anyway, missing out on my one and only chance at a Nobel Prize.    

   The story zips along in fine fashion, with Gabbi using a small crew of geriatric friends to come along whenever she needs backup. Until the end, that is, that takes ever so long to tie up what ends up being a very complicated case, as told by the killer who has to go into considerable detail to explain everything. I think if I were a killer, and I had the detective who is onto me all trussed up with duck tape, I’d just add her to my list of victims, right then and there.

   I’d still read another of Gabbi’s adventures, though — there are, after all, eleven months yet to go — but for reasons not known to me, there never was another one.