"TRACER, INC." by Jeff Andrus

"TRACER, INC."

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KIRKUS REVIEW

It's not easy juggling a detective agency and a family life, especially when your shoestring agency consists of your family -- and your family's response to your first client's phone call is to tell her that she has a wrong number and hang up. Eventually, diffident Anne Walker gets through, and John Tracer cajoles her into hiring him to track down Jennifer Mendoza, the missing daughter of her cleaning woman (as a favor Walker's doing for the cleaning woman, who just happens to be out of the picture down in Mexico -- got that?). Manfully going the rounds of the girl's disconnected foster family, their other delinquent foster child, and her earlier foster family, Tracer eventually realizes Jennifer's traveling with the old cellmate of her father, who ripped off a hefty stash of H from Nuestra Familia and hid it in a location he tattooed on his daughter's fingers in case he forgot. The mystery is from hunger; the client's behavior passes belief; the threats to the missing girl and the Tracer family fizzle; and the family scenes themselves shine with sitcom insincerity -- all that's missing is the laugh track. The painful glimpses of the fostercare system seem to belong to another world, and another book. ""McMillan and Wife and Kids."" California's certainly got room for a PI who's also a family man, but TV-writer-turned-novelist Andrus has a ways to go to catch up to Jon Katz and Thomas Bunn.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1994
Page count: 250pp
Publisher: Scribners