Franze’s first fiction foray centers around a potential Supreme Court nominee whose secret involvement in a murder as a young teenager returns to haunt him.
Thirty years ago, Sean Serrat was the commanding general’s son at the U.S. military base in Misawa, Japan, when he and two other boys were involved in the killing of a Japanese storekeeper. After Kenny knifed the man, he swore friends Sean and Juan to secrecy. Years later, Sean’s a noted attorney with a family of his own, and his name is being bandied about as a possible Supreme Court nominee. While Sean’s professional life is heating up, so is his personal one, but in a worrisome way. Sean and his wife, Emily, have been unable to get in contact with their daughter, Abby, a law student. Sean missed the call Abby made to him on the day she disappeared, and his efforts to find her have been futile. Finally, Sean enlists an FBI agent neighbor in the search, and together, they discover Abby’s body. After her boyfriend is arrested and charged with her murder, Sean confronts a drug dealer who may or may not have something to do with Abby’s death. When things go even more sideways, Sean finds himself and his young son, Ryan, constructing alibis to cover their involvement in another crime. Soon, it’s clear to Sean that the events of that long-ago night in Japan may be coming back to haunt him. Franze’s story isn’t rocket science: there’s no deliciously complicated, twisty-turny plot, but that’s OK. Despite his penchant for clichés—a cop vomiting at the sight of a dead body; the careful political correctness adopted by Abby and Sean; and characters who always seem to make the dumbest possible choices—this is a nifty little read.
Readers won’t linger over the last page like it’s a good scotch, but Franze’s freshman effort is a painless way to pass the time.