“Missing Persons.” is set in San Remo County on the Southern California Coast. Burton Steel, Junior, a ranking LAPD homicide detective, returned to his childhood home after his father, Sheriff Burton Steel, Senior became ill. However, all is not well in the idyllic town of Freedom, California, high in the hills above Highway 101. The nanny who is employed by a prominent family is concerned. Catherine Long, the mother of the boy she cares for has disappeared. “I think they killed her.”
The book is a procedure-based first person narrative voiced by Burton Steel, Junior, or Buddy as his dad calls him. We see the people, the action, the dialogue and the interpretation through his eyes. We learn through his narrative that he is a no-nonsense, procedure-driven officer. His conversations match his personality, quick, short, abrupt, and snappy. However, his shallow, superficial attitude cannot disguise his dedication.
In spite of obstacles, he is determined to find out what happened to Mrs. Long. Money, drugs, religion, fraud, and financial impropriety rip apart the quiet town of Freedom, Ca. and nothing will ever be the same. Secrets are revealed, and it seems that everyone has more than one. Along the way, Buddy makes countless enemies and a friend or two.
I received a copy of “Missing Persons” from Poisoned Pen Press, Michael Brandman, and NetGalley. It is very much in the tone of classic “Dragnet,” focused, straightforward, direct, with Steel being the quintessential Joe Friday kind of guy – “Just the facts, mam.” I enjoyed reading it, and recommend it. I am anxious to see how Buddy manages his job, his family, and his personal life in the next book