cover image Wayward Son: An Ed Runyon Mystery

Wayward Son: An Ed Runyon Mystery

Steve Goble. Oceanview, $27.95 (304p) ISBN 978-1-60809-445-5

In Goble’s fine sequel to 2021’s City Problems, Ed Runyon remains haunted by his professional failures from his time in law enforcement. His inability while an NYPD detective to find a missing girl before she was murdered caused him to struggle with alcohol. His subsequent tenure as a deputy in Ohio’s Miffling County proved frustrating as well, and now Runyon has launched his own investigative agency in rural Ohio. He hopes for redemption when he’s hired to locate missing 15-year-old Jimmy Zachman by the boy’s fundamentalist Christian parents. The clues are few, but after Runyon gets a promising lead from one of the kids Jimmy played chess with, the gumshoe begins to suspect that Jimmy was the victim of an extortion scheme carried out by someone who got access to a compromising photo of the teen. When evidence surfaces that the person responsible for Jimmy’s disappearance may be close to home, the inquiry turns deadly. Strong prose and convincing characters more than make up for a plot that breaks no new ground. Goble demonstrates that a skilled writer can make familiar terrain feel fresh. Agent: Evan Marshall, Evan Marshall Agency. (Aug.)