cover image On Location

On Location

Elizabeth Sims, Minotaur, $25.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-312-58657-7

Sims's smart third Rita Farmer mystery (after 2009's The Extra) finds Rita savoring some stability as an L.A. law student and single mom after years of angst with an alcoholic ex. Then the disappearance of her sister, Gina, thrusts the former actress into her most dramatic role to date. When days pass without word from just engaged Gina and her wealthy fiancé, Lance de Sauvenard, who's scouting locations in the storm-lashed Washington State wilderness for his filmmaker brother, Kenner, headstrong Rita resists reaching out to PI George Rowe, her erstwhile beau, and instead enlists her game six-year-old son, Petey, and gay TV actor friend, Daniel, in the hunt. Raging rivers prove to be among the lesser perils these babes in the wood face in a forest primeval harboring scoundrels ready for their Coen brothers closeup—and just maybe a murderer. Sims orchestrates the action—and occasional comic relief—for maximum impact, with characters you hope will survive to enjoy another day. (Aug.)