The Nameless Detective (Savages, 2007, etc.) sits this one out while Pronzini dances up a storm with a younger version.
Rick Fallon is a bedrock loner. The awful accident that robbed him of his young son has left him disenchanted and disaffected, resulting in a painful divorce from his equally disenchanted, disaffected wife. So Fallon seeks solace in the heat and silence of Death Valley, a place he’s always loved, “a place made for loners.” He finds a new direction for his life with unexpected suddenness. On a remote, little-traveled road, he comes upon Casey Dunbar’s abandoned car with a note that begins, “I can’t go on any more.” He saves her life, earning at first little enough thanks. Casey, it turns out, has also lost a son. Casey’s eight-year-old has been kidnapped by his father, not because cruel, unregenerate Court Spicer has any feeling for the boy, but because he’s determined to punish his wife. For Casey, it’s been a long, expensive, fruitless chase, and she’s worn out. Fallon, a former military cop, decides to make the boy his mission without knowing why. Maybe it’s just a case of one lost boy reaching out to another, leaving a bereft father with no choice.
A tight, twisty tale that an old pro’s sure-handed way with character makes both believable and engrossing.