Albuquerque’s crystal-clear skies provide the perfect setting for the yearly balloon festival, and a place where danger lurks for the latest client of RJP Investigations.
Accountant Charlie Parker has found herself taking over more investigative duties at the detective agency she owns with her brother Ron. Their new client, balloon pilot Rachael Fairfield, is hoping to set a new ladies’ altitude record, but she’s received anonymous letters intimating danger if she tries. She’s convinced the culprit is her father, whose political aspirations were crushed when Rachael’s testimony as a teen sent him to prison on molestation charges. Now her banker brother hopes for a political career of his own. His hunger for publicity undercuts Charlie and Ron’s attempt to keep their client in the shadows. The siblings work as bodyguards, take turns running down clues and dig into the past and present looking for others who might want to harm Rachael. When bullets pierce the balloon, crew chief Sam Millson rushes the pair to his ranch in the hills. Rachael and Charlie are stalked and almost killed in a fire before the truth is revealed.
Shelton’s debut provides much information about hot-air ballooning, but not so much about a convincing solution.