Wolverine Bros. Freight & Storage

Steve Ulfelder. Minotaur, $25.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-250-02810-5

Edgar-finalist Ulfelder’s stellar fourth mystery Conway Sax mystery (after 2013’s Shotgun Lullaby) takes the auto mechanic and sometime PI from his usual Massachusetts haunts to Los Angeles, where he has gone to locate Kenny Spoon, a has-been actor, at the request of Spoon’s mother. Sax manages to rescue Spoon from the Van Nuys headquarters of the Los Bajamaros gang, and get him back home. Lobo Soto, the gang’s leader, ends up in the Bay State as well. Murder, local tensions about a casino initiative, and a potential new love-interest all keep Sax hopping, but Ulfelder skillfully integrates them in the service of a fair-play whodunit. Sax, a Spenser-like paladin more plausible than Robert B. Parker’s original Spenser, makes mistakes that are front and center and whose consequences resonate from book to book. Fans will be interested to see what effect this entry’s hard knocks on Sax’s soul have down the line. [em]Agent: Janet Reid, FinePrint Literary Management. (May) [/em]