Missing-persons specialist Elvis Cole (Free Fall, 1993, etc.) thinks his fifth case is right up his alley: locate the blood family of white-hot TV actress Jodi Taylor, adoptive and concerned about her long-term medical history. So Elvis plunges into the Louisiana bayous, racing against another local shamus, and soon finds not only the bashful parents, but a secret about Jodi that nobody told him when he was first hired. So far, so good: the first half of this tale is so cunningly tailored to Elvis's strengths -- the cocky confidence, the droll humor, the aw-shucks authority -- that reading it is like scrunching into a comfy featherbed. But just as it seems the case is winding down, Elvis stumbles onto an elaborate plot to smuggle illegals into the country. Jodi, who's been promised confidentiality, has a hard time dealing with this development, and no wonder: Except for some shared characters, this second plot has nothing to do with what she thought was her book. It's a lot less tricky and inventive, too, though a lot more violent. Half a masterpiece is better than none, but you've gotta feel for poor Jodi, abandoned still again just when she thought she finally had it made.