Attorney/historian Salter (Gold Fever Part Three, 2016, etc.) launches a new series featuring a mixed-race skip tracer with an eye for the ladies and the main chance.
Nate Green is the Berkeley lawyer you call when you think your husband is doing you one kind of wrong and about to do you another. So it’s no surprise when Gloria Simmons seeks his services, since she suspects that Jimmy Simmons is carrying on an affair and planning to leave her holding the bag. The surprise is that Jimmy would ever abandon his sizzling wife for a lover. Looking to bust the prenuptial agreement that freezes her out with only a taste of Jimmy’s earnings from his real estate and mortuary holdings, Gloria leans on Nate, who in turn leans on R.C. Bean, the investigator who does much more than go after missing persons. R.C., who’s only called Reginald Charles when he’s in trouble, identifies Jimmy’s mistress as his new bookkeeper, Jennifer Wong, just in time for Jimmy to get shot to death outside his Oakland funeral home. (Jennifer will follow Jimmy soon enough in an even more gruesome fashion.) A trip to Las Vegas, where Jimmy’s holding company runs another mortuary, will bring R.C. together with cocktail waitress Rita James, another fine female even if she’s not in the same stratospheric league as Nate’s client. Amid episodes and rumors of adultery, meth cooking, and dubious financial transactions, R.C. gradually fixates on a single puzzling question: why did Jimmy himself, shortly before his death, write a codicil to his will overriding the prenup that brought his wife to Nate Green in the first place?
A loose-limbed romp reminiscent of Chester Himes in which everything, from the dazzling women to the high-stakes lawbreaking, manages to sound both once-in-a-lifetime and absolutely routine.