No Good Deed
Journalist Grenoble puts her familiarity with Southern California to good us in this debut mystery. Her sleuth is Brody Cooper, a reporter for the Malibu Times, who is between stories when he learns 13-year-old Bobby Schonefeld has disappeared. Schonefeld had been at a local day camp, and was reported missing by a counselor. With nothing else of interest to look into, Cooper settles on tackling the Schonefeld case. The subsequent discovery of a woman's corpse near a popular hiking trail appears unrelated, but the circumstances of her death—presented to readers in the first chapter—makes that unlikely. Cooper's detecting is strictly run-of-the-mill, but the case's solution is both surprising and logical. Additionally, excellent descriptive prose—"the late afternoon light descending like a veil on the foothills, turning the rocky outcrops first to mauve, then purple, then finally drawing them down into darkness"—serves the author well.