Know any hunky guys who need rescuing? Petchy Maligula is the right grrl for the job! She's big and tough and fears no man -- dead or alive. But she does have one weakness...
When handsome TV archaeologist Faladan Pala disappears while taping an episode of “I Dig the Past,” it’s up to Petchy Maligula, grrl detective, to bring him back alive. Petchy is big and tough, and more than a match for any man, but she does have one weakness: She’s madly in love with Faladan Pala. When she hears that an evil cult called the Sisters of Inner Beauty may have abducted Faladan so they can sacrifice him to the ancient serpent goddess Quatakexel, Petchy vows to save him at all costs. As she contends with ghost gangs, demon wannabes, eccentric professors, reclusive millionaires and snotty babes, she must draw on all her power -- both muscular and magical -- to learn the truth. But as she delves into the case, she uncovers a secret that knocks her for a loop and threatens her love for the man of her dreams.
Petchy gave him a dirty look and let go of his collar, then turned around and walked a dozen steps to the other side of the living room, dodging the contents of a book shelf that were strewn across the floor.
Maybe "living room" wasn't quite the right word, for there was a dead body lying in the middle of it, or the remnants of one, melted by a beam gun into an ash-colored blob that resembled a big wad of gum someone had tossed on the ground and stepped on. Only this wad of gum had a face at one end—smeary eyes and a crumpled nose and fused lips—and at the other end was part of a foot, still clad in a shoe; an Abidas, judging by the tread pattern.
The blob could have been anyone, but Petchy assumed it was Garek Bardoko, although the name on the mailbox downstairs identified the tenant of Apartment 613 as "Mr. Johnson."
She wasn't well acquainted with Bardoko, and had never been to his place before (he moved fairly frequently), but she knew he was a first-class fence and one of Adono's main contacts in Betroit.
Bardoko was a Deshian—a humanoid race with dimpled, slate-colored skin and tufts of orange hair protruding from odd places—and even though the beam gun had erased all those distinctive characteristics there were other clues pointing to the blob's identity. The TV set was on, the DVD player set to Repeat, showing a music video of a Desh group called Slof. Mercifully the sound was muted, but Petchy had heard The Slof before; their shrill squeaks and whistles were the kind of cacophony only Deshians would call music.
Another clue was the newspaper on the coffee table: The Strident, a rag put out by the Deshian Protective Front.
Then there was the pile of cat heads in the wastebasket. Deshians considered cat brains a delicacy. They'd cut the heads off and drill a hole in the top of the skull—with a special tool purchased from a Deshian food shop—then suck out the brains and toss the heads away. Petchy didn't remember what they did with the bodies. And didn't care to find out.