In a fifth adventure for child-tracing specialist Jack Liffey, the missing child’s no longer missing, but he signs on anyway.
Forced inactivity, monumental boredom, cognitive apparatus growing rusty with disuse . . . until suddenly Liffey breaks out. Stay quiet, his girlfriend, daughter, and shrink have all warned him—and with good reason. After all, his previous case (City of Strangers, 2002) left him with a collapsed lung and a near-nervous-breakdown. On the other hand, the siren song of nostalgia might have proved irresistible under any circumstances: “This is Dan Petrivich. We were in Mrs. Fielder’s English together.” So off goes Liffey to San Pedro, the LA district of his troubled youth. As expected, he finds the place full of his own ghosts, but jostling them are others more restive and considerably more hostile. In December 1941, right after Pearl Harbor, more days of infamy followed, as Japanese families were peremptorily rounded up and hustled off to wait out the war in internment camps. Now, Liffey learns, a series of increasingly savage acts has a quiet community terrorized. Is this violence the bitter harvest of a 60-year-old outrage? It doesn’t take long for our hero to become convinced that it is, and to realize that the enraged avenger has a bead on him.
Liffey is intelligent, sensitive, courageous, even on occasion funny, but, oh, how he does go on.