Feisty Rita Farmer (The Extra, 2008, etc.) adds hatchet-brandishing to her repertoire.
Between law school exams during a lull in her so-so acting career, Rita starts worrying about her big sister Gina, who hasn’t called. Two days go by, and Rita is sure Gina and her boyfriend Lance de Sauvenard have gotten lost scouting locations around Hackett, Wash., for Lance’s brother Kenner’s art film. Rita, her son, Petey, and her best friend, Daniel, head north to find Gina. First they find lots of rain and little cell reception. Then they come upon a guy named Joey nearly drowned under a cliff. Finally, Lance’s body washes up. Meanwhile, Mrs. de Sauvenard asks p.i. George Rowe, who’s been investigating a financial boondoggle, to go find Kenner, who seems to have vanished. So George heads north toward Rita. To get to Kenner and Gina, they’ll have to outwit renegade loggers, a task that requires Rita to impersonate a Native American wielding a hatchet, George to warble like an ornithologist, Daniel to hike miles back to dry land and young Petey to draw a picture that puts everything in focus.
Like George, you just have to love Rita, who’s a great mom, a devoted sister and a helluva actress, even if Spielberg hasn’t cast her yet. Deftly plotted, often droll, but so rainy throughout that you might want to read it with a pair of dry socks by your side.