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April 11 , 2008

What is a Girl Like You ...


What is a girl like you ... [doing in a place like this?] is the "auto-biography" of Tracy Cunningham. It is a fictional life story of our protagonist, from childhood to apprentice private investigator. It tells us why she is the kind of person she is.

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Her thirteenth and fourteenth years were her worst. Her mother passes away from a multi-year bout with lung cancer. Kelly McAllister, her best friend since infancy, dies from a virulent form of Leukemia. And her beloved grandfather is killed in a drug-store shootout.

Tracy and her father are like two people living on a desert island. She is a latch-key kid, left to her own devices to get through her teen years. He is trying to make Chief in record time, she is trying to go through the football team in record time. Her errant ways come to a screeching halt one painful day in her junior year.

Tracy isn't a perfect woman, far from it. She embraces her inner child, and is naive in a lot of aspects. She carries scars from childhood, has morality issues with sex and drinking and making the right decisions.

Yet through all this, she maintains a sense of humor, and a fierce sense of loyalty which is seemingly not reciprocated. There are times when friends and loved ones want her to quit a job, and she won't. Even if the request turns out to be a demand, she won't quit an obligation. This sense of loyalty is also the reason she feels that a promise, an obligation, and/or keeping her word is uppermost.

Tracy is a big believer in Occam's Razor, which can be paraphrased as follow the most likely scenario that fits all the facts. This allows her free-thinking imagination to come up with scenarios from left field.

In this book, we see her deductive prowess mature with her adult persona. How were four Pre-Colombian Artifacts stolen from "super sensitized pedestals" in a room protected by video monitors and motion detectors wired to two different alarm companies?

She works out a plausible way to steal the gold statues within a half-hour of arriving on the scene.

She meets her match in the form of a cop who is as tall as she is short. Sergeant Greg Phillips, SFPD and she have an instant chemistry that will evolve into a lovers and haters relationship that will last for years.

Tracy is a sailboat racing nut. She is an expert on sailboats, and any naiveté or inner child remains ashore when she's involved in a race. Her fellow competitors and friends are referred to as "The Enemy". They refer to her as Captain Bligh. She keeps only first place memorabilia, because coming in second just means someone beat you.

Being an airhead about money (Her terminology) has led her down a path that ends in a fellow resident making her and offer she can't refuse. Tracy agrees to come to a party in the penthouse apartment of Nora, who owns the very tip-top escort service in San Francisco. For her services that night, Tracy will earn sixty percent of a very high fee.

She becomes one of the most sought-after escorts in the city, primarily because she has established herself in the Eden Connection as the brainy girl with all the hostessing skills to go along with her bedroom prowess, which is formidable.

Stuff happens, and stuff happened to Tracy. She has been keeping her cash, jewelery and investment gold in a safe in Nora's penthouse. One night, the safe is cracked and all the contents thereof removed. Nora, Tracy and two other escorts' nest eggs are wiped out.

Tracy is fired from her daytime job because her supervisor discovers her nighttime occupation by accidently listening to a phone conversation between Tracy and a client.

Realizing that it was time to change careers, Tracy works five weeks full time in the Eden Connection, retires from there, and with a few thousand dollars, retires, packs her car and heads across the Golden Gate Bridge to seek her new fortune.

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