No Regrets, No Remorse, by R.F. Sharp

No Regrets, No Remorse, winner of the first Poisoned Pen Press Discover Mystery Contest.
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Sydney Simone, wounded herself, is dedicated to helping via a cloaked website and identity those whose wrongs can’t be righted by orthodox means. First she verifies the client’s story; then she accepts payment: half up front, half on completion of her work. Usually it’s a form of human pest control.

For cover, Sydney works as an assistant at the Rose Madder Gallery in West Palm Beach run by Oscar Leopold. Oscar, a sculptor, has left his law practice behind. But now his former partner Roy is arrested for murdering Big Jack, an attorney with a sleazy television advertising presence. At the same time Sydney is dealing with a client who has seemingly penetrated her defenses and demands she complete a job—rubbing out Big Jack.—an assignment where she has accepted, and pocketed, an unusually large fee. So now Sydney the client gives Sydney a new target and Sydney switches gears: dedicated to saving herself, Oscar, and Roy, even as she continues to operate HumanPestControl.com.

Teaming with Oscar isn’t easy since she can’t tell him all she knows, but soon their investigation leads to a complex insurance fraud scheme that implicates Roy – perhaps he really is guilty. But Oscar becomes an investigative target himself and is arrested, then kidnapped and assaulted as he tries to find the true killer.

The story ranges from the corporate offices of South Florida to the backwaters of the panhandle. The bad guys are dangerous and desperate to keep their careers, their freedom, even their lives. Oscar and Sydney, their own lives and livelihoods at stake, must up their game—Sydney may even have to reveal her game—to survive.

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