Eight years ago, Jennifer Salazar’s twin sister Melissa fell to her death during a birthday hike on Maggie’s Peaks. Now Jennifer, who’s always been convinced Melissa’s death was no accident, wants Lake Tahoe shamus Owen McKenna to look into the case. The only problem is that Jennifer is only 14, not even old enough to sign a contract with Owen, and since her father is dead and her schizophrenic mother Alicia institutionalized, her legal guardian is her hyperprotective grandmother, Roberta Salazar, who’s so set against Owen that she threatens him with a restraining order and kneecapping. No problem, Owen tells Jennifer; though he can’t take her on as a paying client, he can look into her sister’s death as a friend. And indeed most things seem to come easy to Owen, a rangy, can-do ex-cop who has two attractive women fighting over him, a monstrous Great Dane named Spot who routinely brings would-be predators to their knees, and so many friends in law enforcement that they outnumber the forgettable, telemovie suspects. Eventually, Owen’s investigations into the Salazar family secrets give him the idea of busting Alicia out of the high-security private sanitarium where she’s immured, and the thrilling, extended rescue/chase sequence that ensues gives him a chance, finally, to do something hard.
Easygoing, self-confident Owen provides the perfect counterpoint to the menacing forces arrayed against his teenaged client—though there aren’t that many suspects, they’re all guilty as sin—in Borg’s practiced debut.