In Richardson’s (Blood Money, 2013, etc.) thriller, the first in a planned series, an LA sheriff’s detective moonlighting as a PI scours the murky city streets for a runaway teenage girl.
Awaiting his reinstatement with the sheriff’s department, Lucky Dey takes a job as a private detective. He agrees to help Wisconsin businessman Andrew Kaarlsen find his missing 15-year-old daughter, Karrie. Karrie, in the meantime, has befriended affable stripper Cherry Pie. A simple audition for a TV commercial has dire consequences, as seedy casting agent Herman “Herm” Bland sets his eyes on the young girl. He has fiendish plans for Karrie, but, as Lucky and Andrew soon learn, Los Angeles has plenty of men just as vile as Herm—and maybe a few that are much worse. Lucky has a complex background, including having once taken a bullet to the back of the head and having a younger brother who was murdered. As a professional sleuth, Lucky excels: he’s got solid contacts since he’s (technically) still a cop, and he can generally tell if someone’s lying or withholding. Interestingly, Lucky’s biggest obstacle in finding Karrie is Andrew, who insists on joining Lucky in the search. His behavior ranges from distracting to outright hilarious: for example, he inadvertently insults potential ally Cherry by calling her a prostitute, and he later throws such a frantic tantrum in Lucky’s borrowed Crown Vic that he deploys the passenger-side airbag. There’s a surprisingly high number of baddies, and despite the story offering Karrie’s perspective, it’s not always clear to readers who has the girl or even if someone has abducted her. Richardson certainly doesn’t shy away from violence—readers can expect gunshots, broken bones, and the occasional corpse—but he knows when to add dashes of humor. Herm’s trip to the hardware store, for instance, is unsettling since it’s not initially apparent why he’s looking to buy his very first chainsaw. “You’re gonna be mine,” he wickedly whispers to the power tool of his choice.
Will leave readers hungry for more from quick-witted, cool-headed Lucky.