Cameron (The Midnight Plan of the Repo Man, 2014, etc.) tags along with ex–football star, ex-con, full-time repo man Ruddy McCann, who learns the death which sent him to the slammer wasn’t his fault.
Ruddy lives and repossesses cars with delinquent loans in hypothermia country, Kalkashka, Michigan, narrating this sometimes-comic mystery with an air of intimacy. His voice makes him a likable protagonist, whether schmoozing through a tow or cutting a break for a guy who's down on his luck. Ruddy is a stand-up guy, never shirking responsibility for the auto accident during which teenage Lisa Marie supposedly drowned. Other back story requires buy-in. Otherwise average Ruddy hears a voice in his head: local realtor (and murder victim!) Alan Lottner and Ruddy hold regular conversations. Alan’s voice deepens the narrative, especially considering that his daughter, Katie, is Ruddy’s fiancee. This is a Hiaasen-like quirky-character novel, with bit players like the Wolfingers, a family trapped in a confusing "one-in-five drop" con—nice-guy Ruddy pays for the Hawaiian trip they think they’ve won—and Ruddy’s malaprop-prone brother-in-law, Kermit. The action hits the highway when a young woman tells Ruddy that years ago she saw Lisa Marie leave his car before the accident, but only a child then, she was afraid to come forward. Add an inept medical examiner, a malicious police chief, and a glory-hound prosecutor to complicate Ruddy’s attempt to find the truth, and it’s no wonder he ends up in the middle of a murder-for-hire scheme while attempting to find a serial killer.
Great atmosphere, a believable premise, and a nuanced, empathetic Everyman hero.