Three years ago Lew Fonseca quit his job as a process server with the State Attourney's Office in Cook County, Illinois, and drove his rattling Toyota south to escape the memories of his beloved late wife. Headed for Key West, the Toyota broke down in a Dairy Queen parking lot in Sarasota, Florida. Buoyed by the friendship of a few trustworthy souls, Lew settled there, making ends meet by doing some investigative work for local attourneys.
Now, Lew is hired by Carl Sebastian, one of Lew's lawyer's clients, to find his missing wife. Following up on a few leads, Lew finds himself being trailed by a mysterious burly man, and saddled with another missing person case -- this time a runaway teen. With the help of some friends, Lew seems to be getting closer and closer to Melanie -- but will he find her before the unthinkable happens?
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The versatile and prolific Kaminsky introduces his fifth series hero, Lew Fonesca, in this outstanding mystery. Fonesca is a middle-aged, widowed process server, a transplanted Chicagoan who has made a new home in Sarasota, Fla. He joins a distinguished and varied stable of his Edgar Award-winning creator's other protagonists: a Russian policeman (Porfiry Rostnikov); a Chicago police detective (Abe Lieberman); a private detective to the stars (Toby Peters); and, of course, Jim Rockford. Fonesca is a friendly, unassuming, slightly depressed fellow who makes a meager salary working for several Sarasota lawyers. Occasionally he uses the investigative skills he developed while employed by the state attorney's office in Chicago to do a little ad hoc sleuthing. In his debut, his skills and fortitude get stretched to the limit as he tries to locate two missing persons: a teenage girl whose sexually abusive and violent father has lured her away from her poverty-stricken mother, and a woman who has run away from her wealthy husband. As always, Kaminsky's sense of place is faultless, and he skillfully captures a parade of lively, credible characters, including psychiatrists, truck drivers, pimps, teenagers and social workers. With an early hook, he grabs readers and takes them on a memorably tumultuous ride of violent dips and turns, careening from Sarasota's most squalid shacks to its richest condos.