Amos Walker looks under every rock in greater Detroit to locate a woman missing for six years.
If he waited just one more year, Grosse Pointe contractor liaison Francis X. Lawes could have his wife, a PR consultant, declared dead and collect on her million-dollar insurance policy with no fuss. But X doesn’t want to wait a year: He wants to marry Holly Pride, office manager at The Lawes Group, the moment he legally can. So Walker reluctantly agrees to look for Paula Lawes, whose car was found abandoned in a rough neighborhood a world away from her moneyed suburb, knowing full well that there’s no bonus for finding her alive. He talks to her clients George Hoyle, an audiobook producer who admits to having been her lover, and Andrea Dawson, a spokesmodel with a secret of her own. He crosses words with Oakes Steadman, a former gang leader who parlayed his arrest into a position as a police consultant on youth violence; with Inspector John Alderdyce, the head of the original investigation who retired to work with the Reliance private-investigation agency, a rival of Walker’s; and with Albert White, a commander from the Allen Park police station who retired into a more definitive haze of alcoholic apathy. He gets framed for murder and nearly murdered himself before he’s rescued by an unlikely savior. And somehow, after the dust has cleared, he’s come up with a solution as logical as it is unexpected.
Estleman could crank these out in his sleep. Come for the snappy patter, stay for the surprises.