Death of A Dancing Queen: A Billie Levine Mystery Book 1 (Paperback)

Death of A Dancing Queen: A Billie Levine Mystery Book 1 By Kimberly G. Giarratano Cover Image

Death of A Dancing Queen: A Billie Levine Mystery Book 1 (Paperback)


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Veronica Mars meets Serial in this detective novel, where a female Jewish P.I finds herself involved in a deadly gang war while looking for a murder suspect...

Crimereads Most Anticipated Crime Fiction 2023,  Hey Alma’s 23 Jewish Books in 23 Selection, Featured in ITW’s Big Thrill Magazine, Book Riot’s 12 New Mystery & Thrillers To Get Sleuthing

After her mother’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis, Billie Levine revamped her grandfather’s private investigation firm and set up shop in the corner booth of her favorite North Jersey deli hoping the free pickles and flexible hours would allow her to take care of her mom and pay the bills. So when Tommy Russo, a rich kid with a nasty drug habit, offers her a stack of cash to find his missing girlfriend, how can she refuse? At first, Billie thinks this will be easy earnings, but then her missing person's case turns into a murder investigation and Russo is the detective bureau’s number one suspect. 

Suddenly Billie is embroiled in a deadly gang war that’s connected to the decades-old disappearance of a famous cabaret dancer with ties to both an infamous Jewish mob and a skinhead group. Toss in the reappearance of Billie’s hunky ex-boyfriend with his own rap sheet, and she is regretting every decision that got her to this point.

Becoming a P.I. was supposed to solve her problems. But if Billie doesn’t crack this case, the next body the police dredge out of the Hudson River will be hers.
Kimberly Giarratano is an author of mysteries for teens and adults. A former librarian, she is currently an instructor at a SUNY Orange County Community College and the chapter liaison for Sisters in Crime. Born in New York and raised in New Jersey, Kim and her husband moved to the Poconos to raise their three kids amid black bears and wild turkeys. While she doesn’t miss the Jersey traffic, she does miss a good bagel and lox.

Visit her website at
Product Details ISBN: 9781915202420
ISBN-10: 1915202426
Publisher: Datura Books
Publication Date: February 14th, 2023
Pages: 344
Language: English
"An appealing and resourceful protagonist with realistic personal problems complements an intricate plot filled with valid suspects and motives. Readers will want to see more of Billie."
– Publishers Weekly

"...A gripping mystery novel in which a novice private investigator quests to solve her biggest case yet... Death of a Dancing Queen is an exciting mystery novel that connects the past and present of organized crime, all while showcasing the challenges of caring for a struggling family member."
– Foreword Reviews

"YA author Giarratano's (Dead and Breakfast) debut adult novel is a fun, fast-paced mystery."
– Angel Caranna, Library Journal 

"Nothing stops badass Jersey girl Billie Levine from confronting mobsters, meth heads, and crooked cops to catch a killer. Not even her family. Perfect for fans of Liza Lutz's Spellman Files, Death of a Dancing Queen is a page-turning PI mystery with depth and heart."
-Kate Moretti, NYT bestselling author of Girls of Brackenhill

“Death of a Dancing Queen is a fast-paced thrill ride of suspense with lots of twists. The characters are sympathetic and believable, and Billie -the PI- is suffused with a fun, dry wit. An absolute must read!"
Karen Katchur, bestselling author of River Bodies and the Northampton County series

“Twisty and witty, Death of a Dancing Queen delivers a Jersey Fresh private eye whose family troubles leave her little time to dig for clues. Fans of Veronica Mars will cheer fledgling PI Billie Levine as she fights mobsters and neo-Nazis to solve two murders separated by decades but linked by a fabulous diamond. Billie has moxie and grit to spare. I can't wait to dive into Billie's next case.”
Delia C. Pitts, author of contemporary noir mysteries including Murder Take Two and Murder My Past

"Author Kimberly G. Giarratano’s start to a new series is crackling with realism, and she’s created a savvy, tenacious, and street-smart investigator to root for! PI Belinda “Billie” Levine, holds the weight of the world on her shoulders with her mom’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis and working to carry on her retired grandfather’s legacy. She’s also trying to mend a broken heart—easier said than done however when the murder of a young college student/true crime podcaster pulls her right into her ex’s family business—a strip club. With whip-smart prose, and a plot that will keep you guessing, you won’t set the book down until the very shocking and satisfying end!"
Mary Keliikoa, author of Hidden Pieces, and the award nominated PI Kelly Pruett Mystery series.

"Whisking readers from a deli in North Jersey to a club run by the Jewish mob to a true crime podcast session at the local college, Death of a Dancing Queen is the best kind of PI novel: gutsy and multifaceted, with a palpable sense of place. This atmospheric mystery will have you craving a black and white cookie and a whole new Billie Levine investigation. A knockout.”
Tessa Wegert, author of Death in the Family

Death of a Dancing Queen is a noir lover’s dream! If Kinsey Millhone moved to Jersey in 2023, you’d have Billie Levine. The private investigator is quick witted, relatable, and dogged in her attempt to discover what happened to a missing podcaster who pissed off the wrong people–all while dealing with having to parent her parent and avoiding no-good ex whose back in town. I can’t wait for Billie’s next dance.” 
Kellye Garrett, Agatha, Anthony, and Lefty Award winning author of Like a Sister and Missing White Woman

"Giarratano capably keeps a plethora of balls in the air in the suspect-drenched, tangled plot, but the real draw here is Billie, her family, and the sundry, offbeat characters in their orbit—all fully fleshed and filled with infectious spirit. Fans of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum and her entourage will be right at home."
– Booklist

"Like Henning Mankell by way of Veronica Mars, Billie Levine is exactly the type of PI I love: a badass woman who's as tough as she is smart, full of heart and a willingness to play fast and loose with the rules to solve her cases. Giarratano finds sharp humanity in characters as varied as skinheads, strippers, true crime podcasters, and mobsters. A thoroughly modern, socially conscious new private investigator for the twenty-first century, I can't wait to see Billie again!"
Halley Sutton, author of The Lady Upstairs

"Giarratano has created a new favorite heroine. Billie Levine is smart, cool, and above all, human. All I want is a 12-book box set following all of Billie's sleuthing adventures, is that too much to ask for? I couldn't get enough of this slick, sharp thriller."
Jesse Q. Sutanto, bestselling author of Dial A for Aunties

“[Billie] displays some true grit and some impressive detective chops along the way; so tell those corner boys to stop making all that noise—there’s a new Jersey Girl in town. Sing sha la la la la la, sha la la la la la la la la...”  
-Deadly Pleasures Mystery Magazine