This time out, Jack Liffey (On the Nickel, 2010, etc.), finder of lost children, searches for a lost father.
Though African-American movie star Tyrone Bird is positioned comfortably among the box-office elite, not much else in his life is comfortable. For some time he’s been in emotional disarray, heading quietly for psychological meltdown. A marker along the way is his special brand of hallucination: the Skinnies, a team of attenuated tormenters functioning like an ill-disposed entourage. Buttressed by meds, he’s been able to hold things together well enough to keep his pictures consistently earning A-list money. Now, however, Bird is on the wing somewhere, his disappearance triggered by a secret desire that’s become a full-blown obsession. Ty needs to find his father, and as a consequence Jack needs to find them both for the sake of an important movie left half-finished. The gig isn’t Jack’s usual kind—no actual kids are involved—but cash-flow problems have a way of fostering flexibility. Unfortunately, traces of Ty prove scant. Nor is Jack at his professional best. At 63, and with unexpected bitterness, he’s experiencing something he thought he’d safely consigned to history: woman troubles.
In the 13th of this widely respected series, Shannon wavers between realistic family drama and unabashed melodrama. It’s an uncertainty readers will sense and share.