One on One: A Buddy Steel Mystery

Michael Brandman. Poisoned Pen, $26.95 (262p) ISBN 978-1-4642-1029-7

At the start of Brandman’s smooth if superficial sequel to 2017’s Missing Persons, Deputy Sheriff Buddy Steele receives a call to go to a murder scene at the high school in Freedom, Calif., an upscale costal community just a couple of hours’ drive from L.A. For all intents and purposes, Buddy is the acting sheriff of San Remo County in place of his sheriff father, who has Lou Gehrig’s disease. Henry Carson, the popular assistant principal and coach of the Freedom High swim team, has been stabbed to death in his office. Buddy’s investigation takes him into murky waters, with sex games, bullying, and cover-ups bobbing to the surface. Meanwhile, he has to deal with a prolific graffiti artist who’s defacing property all over town. Buddy’s no-nonsense approach to crime solving gets results, but along the away some readers may lose patience with the repetitive dialogue. Brandman’s three Jesse Stone novels (Robert B. Parker’s Damned if You Do, etc.) were more satisfying. (Aug.)
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