DOWN FOR THE COUNT by Maxine O’Callaghan


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 Private eye Delilah West must be the toughest cookie in Orange County: In her sixth case (Trade-Off, 1994, etc.), she survives two of the most violent meet-cutes on record. The first takes place in the pre-Christmas rush at the Main Street Mall, when an unemployed aerospace worker goes homicidally berserk. Delilah not only kills the perp (guiltily covering up her heroic complicity and letting a dead security guard take the credit) but meets her newest and youngest client: mall-rat Brian Hall, 12, who pays her a ten-dollar retainer to find his missing dad. Delilah starts phoning Texas, where trucker Travis Hall was last seen, but hardly has time for a nibble before the second meet- cute, when her lunch with her boyfriend Erik Lundstrom's daughter turns into a double kidnapping. Nicki Lundstrom, who's 18 but acts as bratty as a 12-year-old, breaks the silence of the room they're locked in to tell Delilah that it's all her (Delilah's) fault, and she's right, though in a way that neither of them can predict. And even after the kidnapper turns Delilah loose to run back to glamorous megabucks developer Erik and bring the hefty ransom to the drop-off point, it's almost as bad as still being locked up: Erik ignores her to deal with his grief and distraction, and his security chief broadly hints that Delilah was in on the snatch from the beginning. Meanwhile, Travis Hall is still missing. A no-frills tale that's as good a marriage of detective work and domestic problems as you're likely to see this season.

Pub Date: Nov. 11th, 1997
ISBN: 0-312-16820-9
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1997


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