In this thriller, a Denver private eye’s legal investigation into a rancorous divorce dispute has ties to an ongoing multiple-murder case.
Though Claire Callahan’s new PI business is up and running, she needs a way to pay the bills for now. She lands an investigator job at the law firm of Marsh & Whitely, where partner Stanley Marsh puts her on a divorce case straightaway. The firm’s most lucrative client, Morgan Tutwiler, wants enough dirt on his estranged wife, Sara, to force her into signing an agreement. He’s certain she’s having an affair, which doesn’t take long for Claire to confirm. Sara, however, wants at least half of Morgan’s estate and will use whatever means she has available, including manipulating his 21-year-old daughter, Amanda. Professional bull rider Clint Barlow, meanwhile, has killed someone, a murder linked to an earlier one with the same M.O. by the investigating detective and Claire’s friend, Rafe Brewster. The cop’s case will soon intersect with Claire’s, which ultimately dredges up all sorts of nefarious activity, from Morgan’s potentially shady business practices to an old missing person case. But when Amanda inexplicably vanishes, Claire’s determination to find her could put the PI in the line of fire. So much of Turner’s (No Reason to Hide, 2016, etc.) narrative is devoted to the nasty divorce proceedings that the murders are nearly a subplot. But while little mystery surrounds Clint, whom the author immediately identifies as a killer, there’s a jumble of curious events involving Morgan and Sara. Both, for example, are associated with questionable deaths in their pasts or even more currently. Nevertheless, Clint is suitably unsettling; he hears and speaks with the Lord, who evidently demands his atonement for a prior act. The protagonist herself is persistently cool and self-assured. In a book that doesn’t shy from the occasional obscenity, her PG-rated utterances (“It’s my client’s rear in a wringer”) make her stand out in the best way possible.
A laudable mystery galvanized by a series-worthy gumshoe.