A Tahoe, California–based private detective investigates a kidnapping and an armored-car heist and discovers a surprising link between the two in Borg’s (Tahoe Blue Fire, 2015, etc.) 14th series thriller.
Private eye Owen McKenna becomes involved with an investigation into the abduction of Jonas Montrop, whose stepfather, David Montrop, is a con man whom McKenna once busted. Shortly after he helps to locate the young man, he’s hired to find the perpetrators of an armored-car robbery, and he soon finds that two of the four culprits have been murdered. The kidnapping and the heist seem to have one thing in common: Evan Rosen, a young woman who cleaned the Montrop house and went to high school with the two dead heisters. But Evan, who now cares for her younger sister, Mia, doesn’t strike McKenna as a killer even though critical evidence points to her bumping off the robbers as revenge for a rape she suffered in high school. As the dead bodies pile up, the PI becomes more convinced that Evan is innocent and does everything in his power to help clear her name. Once again, McKenna receives support from his loyal girlfriend, etymologist Street Casey, and his equally loyal Great Dane, Spot. Overall, this novel represents old-school detective work at its most pure, as McKenna uses good, old-fashioned shoe leather and common sense to solve the crimes. The only negative aspect of the book is the author’s tendency to pad his narrative out longer than necessary. What Borg does best, though, as usual, is give readers a strong rooting interest in why the mystery at the center of the story needs to be solved. It all leads to a tense confrontation aboard a cabin cruiser, during which he cleverly reveals the wheels-within-wheels machinations of the mystery plot.
Once again, Borg hits all the right notes for fans of classic detective fiction in the mold of Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, Ross Macdonald, and Robert B. Parker.