Private investigator Jeri Howard is on vacation in New Orleans when a friend asks a favor: her sister Laurette has disappeared with a boyfriend, and Jeri’s trip turns into a case. Slade, a mercurial musician, tends to strike out when thwarted, sometimes leading to deadly consequences. Jeri’s investigation takes her from French Quarter clubs to workaday NOLA, then back to California, into jeopardy—and an explosive conclusion.
Howard's workmanlike 13th mystery featuring PI Jeri Howard (2018's Water Signs) takes Jeri to New Orleans, where she gets a call from Davina Roka, a friend back in her hometown of Oakland, Calif. Davina, a New Orleans native, asks Jeri to look for her missing sister, Laurette Mason, who recently gave up her job and her apartment and left the Big Easy with her musician boyfriend, Eric Slade. When Davina assures Jeri that this isn't like Laurette, at least not like Laurette was before her husband died and her-four-year-old daughter was killed in a car wreck, Jeri wonders whether Davina is being overprotective. Though Slade is a bit of a deadbeat, there's no indication that Laurette was forced to go with him. But as Jeri looks deeper into Slade's background, she discovers some troubling information about him that causes her grave concern about Laurette's safety. This love letter to New Orleans has a great sense of place, which compensates in part for a mystery with few surprises. Series fans will best appreciate this one.