Cal Brantley

Created by Lise S. Baker

The winner of the 1998 St. Martin’s Press/Private Eye Writers of America Best First P.I. Novel Contest, Lise Baker’s The Losers’ Club introduced a strong new voice in San Francisco private investigator CAL BRANTLEY. Dispatched to investigate a wrongful death case in Reno by her new employers, Worldwide Investigations, a freak accident involving a child and a casino escalator, Cal is chagrined to discover they’ve saddled her with a chaperone — an obnoxious former LAPD cop named Denny Wickerstaff.

Cal cracks wise, and offers us her hard-eyed view of things, yet within her chest beats the heart of a poet. Like the seedy motel whose “…lights on the neon marquee lit up like white powder on a whore’s face.”

Not bad, huh? Adding to the versimiltude is Cal’s at-times-frantic juggling of her personal and professional lives. This is a real person, living in the real world, but strong enough to tell it like it is.


Author Lise S. Baker is, in fact, a real-life private eye herself, which no doubt goes a long way to explaining the attention to detail evident here. A promising debut that, unfortunatley never resulting in a series. Still, Baker’s not givng up. A sof December 2015, she’s got seven more books in the series that she’s still shopping around, and she’s still working as a P.I. In fact, she was given the Investigator of the Year Award by World Association of Detectives. in 2011. as she says, “I am not going to give up!”


Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith. And thanks, Lise, for the nudge.

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