Laguna Heat - T. Jefferson Parker No one does delving into the sins of omission and commission in the old gentry like Ross MacDonald who seemed almost to have a patent on the genre. Parker does a successful emulation in Laguna Heat.

Tom Shephard, recently retired from the LAPD where he was a decorated detective, but also the subject of widespread vilification for shooting a sixteen-year-old, has been hired to work as the homicide detective for Laguna Beach (annual homicide rate 0.5). His first case finds him looking for the killer of Tim Callahan who died with blue cobalt in his hair, $1000 waded up and stuffed down his throat, and a 32 oz piece of basalt smashed into his forehead. The trail leads to events that had occurred many years before with interlocking motives and actions that came back to haunt all of them decades later.

It’s an engaging story if unrealistic. The idea that a homicide detective could just take off and follow his instincts and a suspect down to Mexico struck me as bizarre. Apparently, this was Parker’s first novel and it doesn’t have the polish of some of his later work, but with that caveat it’s better than a lot of other stuff being published.