A ninth challenge for Anna Peters (Backfire, 1994, etc.) and her Washington-based Executive Security, Inc., comes from the professional sports world. Mostly because of a widely publicized locker-room brawl, Jurgen Parkes, star hockey player for the Orlando Showmen, is a prime suspect in the murder of Alf Rene, a teammate and friend from the players' Canadian boyhood. Parkes's savvy agent Sammy Allert has hired Anna to get his client off the hook by finding Rene's real killer. And so Anna, plagued by back problems and middle-age blues, travels to Florida, where she finds Rene's panic-stricken wife Suzi in the process of closing up their expensive house and moving her family to a secret destination. Her late husband's tenuous connection to Horizon Investments, run by respected community leader Bennett Dowling, leads Anna to a spate of tough interviews and some even tougher criss-crossing of the state, especially after Suzi vanishes; the body of her no-good brother Billy Deever is found in Lake Monroe; and Alf Rene's good-natured agent, Wurf Stanford, is found in an abandoned van, shot to death. Dull, repetitive interrogations; dreary journeys laced with would-be colorful characters; lots of the latest computer technology, and Anna's musings on the pros and cons of retirement eventually lead to an unconvincing motive, an unstartling culprit--and the conviction that Anna's retirement may be overdue.