A Broward County PI’s second meeting with her client takes an unexpected turn when the client turns up dead. Her maid, too, though she’s scarcely mentioned thereafter.
Certain that her husband, John, a successful Fort Lauderdale attorney, is cheating on her, Sabrina Hammonds has hired Beth Bowman (Hot Rocks, 2012) to get the goods on him. When Beth comes to her house with photos and a report about the woman John met the night before, she finds Sabrina shot to death and her maid, Carmina, strangled. Beth’s insistence that Detective Dick Bannon and Maj. Sargent of the Coral Lakes PD arrest the cheating husband falls flat when Hammonds produces a courtroom alibi and proves that the woman he spent the evening with was his sister Madeline. But he’s not one to hold a grudge, and to prove it, he not only hires Beth to recover his daughter Ashley, 5, who was taken from her school around the same time her mother was killed, but orders the Coral Lakes cops to turn over every scrap of information they have on the killings to Beth and then stay out of her way. The improbabilities mount, though this time in a nice way, when Beth enlists the help of her bar-owner friend Bob Sandiford’s legion of homeless buddies to gather evidence of Ashley’s whereabouts before her kidnapper, who sends a series of disarmingly good-natured ransom notes, can sell her into sexual slavery instead of collecting $1 million ransom. Meanwhile, Beth’s mother arrives from Texas, followed closely by Lanny Strudnocker, a former date who’s been stalking her.
Fast-moving, genial, surprise-free and utterly routine. Not the best airplane read but definitely one to consider if you’re stuck on the tarmac for three extra hours.