Herman Jackson, bail bondsman with a heart of mush (Fiddle Game, 2008), goes the extra mile for an ill-used Vietnam vet.
One look at Charlie Victor, and most people think of hard luck personified: “Yesterday, elsewhere, and too bad.” Consider his war, for instance. Vietnam, no picnic for anyone, was through no fault of Charlie’s an extended nightmare from which he never came close to awaking. So when Herman, the doyen of St. Paul bail bondsmen, learns that Charlie’s end has been both sudden and remarkably brutal, he’s not surprised. But not detached either. After all, Charlie, for whom brushes with ill-disposed cops have long been routine, has been a bread-and-butter client and something more; Herman was drawn to the vet, or at least to the man he sensed had once been. As he launches his investigation into that earlier incarnation, Herman discovers it was far more complicated than he ever imagined. To begin with, Charlie’s murder is not the mindless act of violence described by the police. It’s been carefully calculated, and its roots go astonishingly deep. The fact is that Charlie mattered enough for powerful people to hate him bitterly.
Well-constructed and deftly character-driven, with a nice little love story for leavening.