When legendary Sheriff Burton Steel summoned his son Buddy home from LAPD Homicide, a reluctant Buddy agreed. Burton is debilitated by ALS, Lou Gehrig's Disease. While Buddy is to cover his back, not an assignment he wants, the clincher is it's his last chance to connect with his proud, overbearing parent.
What Buddy didn't expect was to encounter crime in Freedom, a privileged coastal community a hundred miles north of Los Angeles, as vicious and challenging as that of the city.
One spring morning, the latest challenge erupts. The brutal murder of a prominent Freedom High School sports coach leads Buddy into a clandestine universe of sexual deception, play parties, unwitting athletes, over-privileged youths, treacherous bullies, and shocking malfeasance.
At the same time, a sudden scourge of graffiti is disfiguring both public and private property, despoiling the beauty and serenity of Freedom's unassuming landscape. Outraged, knowing he has few legal weapons to wield, Buddy is forced to find new and challenging ways to thwart the street artist, or artists, responsible. Irreverent and imaginative, not to say manipulative, Buddy is just the man for the job.
Buddy's plate is soon full and the stakes are enormous as he sets about bringing resolution to a glut of seemingly irresolute occurrences.
One on One follows Missing Persons, Buddy's first investigation in Freedom.
At the start of Brandman's smooth if superficial sequel to 2017's Missing Persons, Deputy Sheriff Buddy Steele receives a call to go to a murder scene at the high school in Freedom, Calif., an upscale costal community just a couple of hours' drive from L.A. For all intents and purposes, Buddy is the acting sheriff of San Remo County in place of his sheriff father, who has Lou Gehrig's disease. Henry Carson, the popular assistant principal and coach of the Freedom High swim team, has been stabbed to death in his office. Buddy's investigation takes him into murky waters, with sex games, bullying, and cover-ups bobbing to the surface. Meanwhile, he has to deal with a prolific graffiti artist who's defacing property all over town. Buddy's no-nonsense approach to crime solving gets results, but along the away some readers may lose patience with the repetitive dialogue. Brandman's three Jesse Stone novels (Robert B. Parker's Damned if You Do, etc.) were more satisfying.