From Publishers Weekly
Shannon explores the deep, sometimes deadly divide that separates haves and have-nots in his rewarding 11th mystery to feature 60-year-old Jack Liffey, who specializes in locating missing children (after 2008's The Devils of Bakersfield
). Jack's ex-wife, Kathy, asks him to find Blaine Blue Hostetler, her best friend's missing teenage daughter. Smart and attractive, Blue was involved in such causes as preserving the habitat of the endangered butterfly, the Palos Verdes Blue, and aiding illegal immigrants. Jack's investigation takes him from L.A.'s ultra-rich enclaves and the surfers' paradise of Lunada Bay to muddy migrant camps and Tijuana. Once again, Jack's daughter, Maeve, puts herself in danger to help her dad, with mixed results. Effectively told in part through letters written by a young Mexican immigrant and others written by a scared teenage surfer to his dad, this installment highlights Shannon's ability to sharply render subtle shades of right and wrong. (May)
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*Starred Review* The mysteries at the heart of the Jack Liffey novels are ultimately less interesting than Liffey himself and the landscape he navigates—and that’s fine. A gentle soul with an angry spirit, Liffey, the finder of lost children, finds himself exploring the physical and psychic terrain of Southern California, crossing the “weird frontiers” between rich and poor, between native born and recently immigrated. Back from a sojourn in Bakersfield, Liffey is asked by his ex-wife to look for Blaine, the daughter of a friend. Blaine is an idealistic high-schooler whose passion for saving the habitat of an endangered butterfly, the Palos Verde Blue, may have brought her into contact with Mexican laborers who are sleeping rough amid the multimillion-dollar mansions where they work—and with the rich surfer kids who harass the Mexicans. Overhearing the details, Liffey’s own teenage daughter, Maeve, decides once again to help him, even if he doesn’t know she is on the case (recalling City of Strangers, 2003). Readers may puzzle over Liffey’s lasting relationship with angry cop Gloria Ramirez, but he is loyal to lost causes, even his own. With a hero as brainy, compassionate, and conflicted as this, the only real mystery is why these books aren’t best-sellers. --Keir Graff