A transplanted Texan helps solve a quirky California murder.
Roxanne Prescott, a member of a family of proud Texas law officers, moved to California when her partner was killed on the job (Guns and Roses, not reviewed). After working at her aunt’s travel agency, she’s signed on with the San Diego Sheriff’s Department. Her first big case is the murder of ex-cop, ex-p.i. Sam Brennan, the beloved founder of Adoption Central, an agency that facilitates adoptions of all kinds. He’s found beaten to death with a Michael Jackson statue at his expensive home, crammed with equally tasteful collectibles. Roxanne and her mentor, Detective Jed Wilkinson, are clearly matched against a clever killer. None of Sam’s employees, family or friends seem to have a serious motive for murder. Both his former wives liked him, and though his affair with a ghostwriter was not exclusive, they remained friends. But there are darker possibilities. With the help of the ghostwriter, Sam had written several books. One on his own adoption painted a rosy, far-from-realistic portrait of his life with abusive parents. Both his birth parents are dead, but when he tracked down his maternal sister Clara, her husband, a conservative talk-show host, made it plain that he disapproved of Sam’s work.
The solid police procedural moves along smoothly until the well-disguised villain is revealed.