Orphans

Gerald Pearce, Author Walker & Company $18.95 (226p) ISBN 978-0-8027-5764-7
In this overplotted but enjoyable mystery, the first in a projected series featuring Jim Keller, the nice-guy lawyer has his share of problems. His ex-wife, whom he still loves, is harassing him--he's involved in a no-holds-barred battle with her for custody of their three-year-old; and the case is forcing him to close his practice in Dos Cruces, a quiet, artsy California community in turmoil over a developer's plan to glitz up the town. But that doesn't stop Keller from taking on--even welcoming--the problems of others, perhaps because, as another character tells him, he wants to ``play daddy to every stray orphan in California.'' When an ex-girlfriend of several prominent Dos Cruces citizens is found dead, the police try to pin the murder on an outsider, a young artist who may or may not be the murdered woman's daughter. Keller seizes the task of finding the killer, which involves him with various townspeople, all of whom have troubles that Keller tries to solve, and one of whom is the killer. Pearce has created a likable, sympathetic protagonist--but Keller is something of a wimp, too. A healthy dose of anger and tighter writing would have been welcome improvements. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/05/1990
Release date: 06/01/1990
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