An FBI-agent-turned-private-eye goes up against a pair of hired killers with a surprising motive and an even more surprising client.
David Bagley must rue the moment he raised his hand to Kyle Mossler, the partner he was gently disagreeing with at the end of a meeting at Zipdata, Inc. As the two were leaving Pete Sanders’s house together, Kyle collapsed and died of asphyxiation, a telltale red mark on the side of his neck, with no one’s footprints disturbing the Kansas snow around him but karate expert David’s and his own. Luckily, David’s father, Det. Jeff Bagley of the Hillsboro PD, brings in stargazing, philosophical shamus Max Austin (Max Conquers the Cosmos, 2005, not reviewed). Before you can say “Trojan Horse,” Max has uncovered evidence that points away from David and toward two suspicious characters lurking in a van—and indications that Zipdata, Inc. may have been involved in some high-tech shenanigans that might explain why two other partners since Kyle have met their deaths in Denver and San Francisco. Can 50-ish widower Max keep at bay the unlikely bevy of romantically inclined females buzzing around him long enough to penetrate Zipdata’s secrets—never mind the killers’—before the firm is dissolved?
The lightly sketched mystery will appeal mainly to conspiracy buffs. But as those females would no doubt agree, it’s hard to resist genial, down-to-earth Max, even if he never does unlock the universe.