Compassion blossoms into obsession, turning a corporate middleman into a neophyte sleuth.
Chuck Restic works in human resources for a large Los Angeles corporation. So it falls on him to take employee Ed Vadaresian to task for stinking up the 32nd floor with his cologne, Mamba for Men. It’s not inspiring work, but it’s secure, and being at the office keeps Chuck’s separation from his attorney wife, Claire, off his mind. Shortly after, when Ed’s let go, Chuck visits his house to drop off his belongings. But he doesn’t see Ed, whose teenage son, Rafi, says his father’s attending to personal business back in his native Armenia. Months pass, and Ed remains missing. When Chuck begins to nose around, he’s surprised to learn that Ed owned several buildings, currently under the threat of foreclosure by Bill Langford, the slick chief of Emerald Properties. Suspecting fraud and worse, Chuck takes his evidence to Glendale Detective Alvarado and learns that the police, sharing his suspicions but waiting for more evidence to proceed, also suspect that Ed killed himself. For the sake of peace, Chuck tries to ignore links between Claire’s law firm and both Ed and Langford. Everything changes with Langford’s murder, which makes the police more aggressive in their investigation but less interested in Chuck’s assistance. By now he’s far too invested to disengage. Beginning with Rafi, Chuck retraces his steps and, helped by the gritty operator Easy Mike, uncovers layer upon layer of deception.
Chuck’s engaging first-person narrative effectively puts the reader into his unsteady shoes in this promising series kickoff.