The third novel in T. Jefferson Parker's Roland Ford series finds the Southern California P.I. sitting in his office when--lo and behold!--an attractive woman walks in looking for help. The woman is Penelope Rideout, and her younger sister, Daley, is missing. Their parents died years earlier and Penelope, who is fourteen years older than Daley, became her sister's legal guardian. Daley, who is now nearing fourteen, has become something of a handful, as teenagers are wont to do. She has fallen in with what Penelope deems to be "bad company," and has now disappeared.
Roland agrees to try to find the girl, which should be a piece of cake for a reasonably competent P.I., but in a book like this, nothing is ever as it seems, and a simple case will quickly turn difficult, confusing and deadly.
Bad things are happening in the Southern California desert, involving white supremacists, a creepy but very popular televangelist, and secrets that go back for years. Somehow, Daley Rideout has gotten mixed up in their plots and schemes. Ford has no idea who he can trust--his own client included--and he's going to have to endure a lot of pain, physical and otherwise, if he's going to survive this mess and complete his assignment.
Roland Ford is an attractive and unique protagonist. Like several other protagonists of his age in books like this these days, he's a veteran of the wars in the Middle East, and has been seriously affected by his experiences there. He's still mourning the death of his wife who was killed in a plane crash and lives in a compound with several other interesting but wounded characters. But like the first P.I. in the first novel where such a character was sitting in his office when a beautiful, troubled woman walked in, Ford will stop at nothing to see that justice is finally served. A good read that should appeal to anyone who enjoys a good hard-boiled P.I. Novel.