Five Star, Oct 2002, 24.95, 256 pp.
In Chicago, private investigator Ron Shade is relocating to reduce costs when social worker Maria Castro enters his office escorting Juanita. Maria explains that Juanita does not speak any English, but wants to hire Ron to make inquiries into her missing fiancÚ Carlos Sanchez, who vanished a few days ago. Maria clarifies that the police cannot be brought into the case as Carlos is an illegal. She also says that she will help pay the fee as Juanita cannot afford the full price of retaining Ron.
While also training for the full contact karate heavyweight championship fight, Ron starts his inquiries at Carlos' last known place of employment, Two Thousand and One Space Oddities. There he learns that Carlos was fired three days ago for allegedly coming on the job intoxicated. However, Ron is uncomfortable with the way management cooperates by providing everyone with responses to the sleuth's questions as if a ventriloquist act is on the stage. As he begins to get closer to the truth, Ron's life is threatened, but he refuses to allow a viable threat from stopping his investigation.
This is an exciting private investigation tale because the lead protagonist is an intriguing All-American hero. The story line engages the audience, as readers observe Ron's struggles to uncover the truth while training for a professional bout. Though Ron seems a bit too perfect, no one will care because the missing person's case is fun to follow and his budding romance with Maria adds flavor to a pleasurable few hours.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner