This description is adapted from the critique provided by the professional editor of the manuscript. This mystery novel begins as the case of missing person Arthur Flynn, a mobile home salesman from San Marcos just north of San Diego. He disappears from a fishing camp at the Russian River near Guerneville in northern California. Detective Shane Notfarg from the county sheriff homicide department is assigned the case and reluctantly investigates. Her reluctance comes from her knowledge that ninety percent of missing persons turn up later, alive and well. Notfarg is a fresh take on the law enforcement detective. She has a distinctive look: a nearly six-foot-tall, slightly overweight, fifty-one-year-old Afro-American woman. What really makes her interesting is her personality and her voice. She is an extremely capable investigator, with excellent powers of deduction but also able to make intuitive leaps. She also has some great quirks—her love of McDonalds (at odds with her desire to lose weight), her quick temper, and her competitiveness at work. She also has a compassionate side, though, and she often feels sorry for the people she brings to justice.
Notfarg’s investigation takes a dynamic turn when she learns that Flynn’s belongings were stolen from his tent at the fishing camp. This leads to her finding Flynn’s car, abandoned and stripped in the town of Compton in Los Angeles County. The plot thickens when forensics determines a dead body has been in the car with DNA matching Flynn’s. Notfarg, realizing this is now a murder investigation, investigates why anybody would want to kill Flynn and uncovers a money laundering operation. The mystery leads on to fraud, forgery, identity theft, murder and attempted murder. Each element of the central crime is given roughly equal space in the book, so the plot really moves throughout, always with some new twist that changes everything. The introduction of these shifts is handled so the plot never feels forced. Clues are provided to the reader early on and no major information surprises are sprung on the reader late. This means that when Shane realizes what has happened and who is really behind everything, it makes for a great climax.