A part-time detective and full-time collector finds that her old hometown is more exciting than it used to be.
Jane Wheel is recently divorced, her son is off to a boarding school that suits his talents, and her house is on the market. She’s packed up years of collectibles to make the house more appealing, and her best friend, Tim, is having it all shipped to a storage unit, when the house suddenly sells. So Jane stays with her parents in Kankakee, a quiet Illinois town suddenly energized by the return of a former resident, second-rate comedian Lucky Miller, who’s filming a roast for himself. Lucky has paid a big crew to restore many of the old businesses he remembers from the short time he spent there. Struggling to recover memories of his life in Kankakee, where he fears he may have done something awful, Lucky hires Jane as temporary help. Her task is to discover who’s messing with Lucky’s head by disturbing his box of lucky charms and leaving cryptic notes accusing him of unspecified crimes. With help from her partner, Detective Oh, Jane looks into Lucky’s past and discovers a number of things that don’t add up. In addition to her latest job, she’s also worried about her parents, who are struggling financially, mourning the loss of an old friend and still spending long hours running the EZ Way Inn. Can Jane solve Lucky’s problems, help her parents and settle into a new and vastly different life?
Jane’s eighth doesn’t live up to some of her earlier adventures (Backstage Stuff, 2011, etc.) but still provides a pleasant, if unexciting, read.