Bantam, Jan 2002, 5.99, 400 pp.
Part time private investigator Trade Ellis owns and manages the Vaca Grande Ranch near La Cienega, Arizona. To supplement her income, Trade accepts cases, but is very particular as to what she chooses.
Bartender Quinta Ortiz, the daughter of Trade's ranch foreman, introduces the sleuth to Josie Moraga, a regular at the Riata Bar. Josie asks Trade to visit her mother Lourdes Escamilla to discuss a case. Lourdes pleads with Trade to find her grandson fourteen-year-old Eduardo Gallegos who escaped from Los Hijos detention center along with one other teen Antonio Bernini. A third escapee Congressman Bowen's son died during the flight. Trade says she cannot help Lourdes, but agrees to accompany her to a meeting with the Los Hijos officials. However, the actions and reactions of the Los Hijos crowd is so out of character, Trade changes her mind and begins searching for a frightened adolescent.
CRACK SHOT is an exciting private investigative tale that contains several twists and turns that keep the audience guessing as to the identity of the villain. The story line retains the reader's attention because the diverse support cast (from a recently widowed Congressman to an escaped teen prisoner) provides the intensity to the plot that enables Trade to appear as a real person. As she has done with previous Trade novels (see THE LAST SONG DOGS; THE SPORTING CLUB; and RODE HARD, PUT AWAY DEAD), Sinclair Browning provides fans with another fascinating novel.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner