Veteran TV writer Goldberg (Beyond the Beyond, 1997, etc.) tests a gatehouse security guard to his limits when he agrees to shadow a homeowner’s wife.
International movie distributor Cyril Parkus doesn’t think his wife is having an affair, but he knows there’s something wrong with her. So he hires Bel Vista Estates guard Harvey Mapes, whose professional experience is limited to watching monitors and writing out courtesy tickets, to follow her around Camarillo. Harvey watches Lauren Parkus drink coffee, gaze at the ocean, drive to a pawnshop and meet a man he’s sure is blackmailing her. As a reward, he’s summarily dismissed with a bonus over the $150 a day he requested and treated to the horrifying spectacle of Lauren doing a swan dive off a freeway overpass. Shocked that his investigative work had such a tragic ending, he digs deeper into the case and soon unearths secrets as dark and twisted as anything Hammett or Chandler ever dreamed up—although his own role models are mostly TV shamuses like Joe Mannix, Dan Tana and Jim Rockford. Working with his friend and sometime lover Carol, Harvey doesn’t set the world straight, but he does get to the bottom of the case, earn Carol’s love and grow miles beyond those paragons of machismo.
A grim tale with a disarmingly sweet hero who begins like sad-sack lawyer Stanley Hastings and ends by leaving Travis McGee in the dust.