Five Star, Jul 2004, 25.95, 322 pp.
In Eugene, Oregon, parole officer Madrigal “Maddy” Harper raises her twelve years old son Skylar by herself in a trailer park. Sky's dad not only failed to grow up, but also deserted his child once he realized the kid suffered from Asberger's Syndrome, a type of Autism.
Sky rarely finds anything fascinating so when he does Maddy goes all out to further his interest. Thus, they attend a Star Train science fiction convention, as the lad is a big fan of the series. At the ElfCon, Maddy notices parole jumper Abner Farelli. Being taller, heavier, and confident that she can take the smaller man, Maddy gives chase. Abner escapes when Maddy crashes into despondent Star Train author Everett Wilkins.
Not long afterward, someone shoots Abner using Maddy's stolen gun. Her alibi actor hunk Richard Battersea refuses to give her an alibi because he fears how his wife will react. Worrying about what will become of Sky if she goes to prison; Maddy investigates the murder of Abner.
Maddy and Sky make this investigative tale work as readers will see a loving mother and son struggle with his condition by doing “normal” things together. Maddy is a terrific protagonist, who depends on few people except those she trusts like her best bud when it comes to Sky. The story line is intriguing due to insight into Asberger's Syndrome, which is cleverly woven into the plot as part of the relationships between characters. No wizard behind curtains to make things right, Maddy knows that the yellow brick road leads to prison if she fails to uncover the identity of the killer.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner