Would a pretty ex-hooker strip herself naked, handcuff herself, then vault over a married john’s 19th-floor balcony and willingly kill herself?
Grace Hunter—Scarlett to her clients—listed her 60-plus rich and powerful lovers’ addresses, cells, social security numbers and, when available, net worth on an encoded flash drive and tucked it away when she gave up the game in favor of pregnancy and marriage to an old beau, sweet but slightly nerdy Tim. Then she left her baby at home, disrobed, manacled her hands behind her and leapt to her death from a former client’s trendy apartment. Suicide or murder? The cops opt for the former, but Felix Smith appears on the doorstep of a pair of private eyes and wants them to investigate. Before Smith’s car even pulls out of their parking lot, he’s riddled with bullets from an AK-47, leaving former sheriff Mike Peralta and his guilt-ridden sidekick, former history professor/deputy sheriff David Mapstone, with a dead client on their hands and a $5,000 retainer to be earned. Off they head to San Diego, where Phoenix philanderers stash their mistresses. Mapstone interviews Tim, who also wants the ex-lawmen to find out what caused Grace to leave him and their baby. Like their first client, Tim is quickly dispatched, his fingers broken, his throat slit, a Claymore mine sitting in his lap. The private eyes are tailed, shot at, lied to. They call in their exes, Sharon and Lindsey, for psychological and tech support and some midday canoodling. They reconnect with a Vietnam vet and munitions expert pal of Peralta’s. They learn about white supremacy groups working out of desert strongholds. After threats, beatings, shootings and more lovemaking, they live to fight another day.
The partnership of secretive, pensive Peralta and anguished, impetuous Mapstone (South Phoenix Rules, 2010, etc.) is intriguing, their love lives less so. But NRA aficionados will go nuts.