Back in Vietnam, Stuart Mallory thought Scott Quinn was a spineless wimp. Now Scott's disappeared from his Big Rapids (Mich.) home, and his family wants Mallory to find him. It's soon obvious that Scott, no hero even though he's now been ordained a Methodist minister and turned to counseling addicts, has run away from trouble, and no wonder: Somebody's been following his daughter, somebody's been looking for him, somebody's bugged Mallory's own phone. Stepping over a corpse in a chicken coop and surviving a hair-raising confrontation with a rival p.i., Mallory catches up with Scott and persuades him to go back home to face his problems, then watches him die and vows to avenge his death by solving the minimal mystery. Mallory's understated third outing (A Still and Icy Silence, 1993, etc.) still finds him better with bullets than brains.