Should Grace Fail, by Priscilla Paton
Should Grace Fail, by Priscella Paton
On a June morning, Detective Erik Jansson finds the body of a former policeman in a St. Paul dumpster. The victim, Dan, a recovered alcoholic, had been rescuing an addicted teen, Luna, from sex trafficking. With the backdrop of the opioid crisis, the detectives pursue suspects—missing Luna, who has a fetal-alcohol disorder, her drug-dealer “boyfriend,” and a vicious crime boss. Erik’s partner, Deb Metzger, encounters a hotel chain matriarch, Nancy LeClerc. Nancy knew the dead man, and suspicious incidents occur at her hotels, which suggests a link between the hotels and the murder. But Nancy resists being open, and Deb turns to the woman’s nephew Geoff, who has been involved in a hotel incident.
The detectives track down Dan’s friend, Gordy, who works with therapy dogs. Gordy takes it on himself to secretly track down Dan’s stolen van as evidence. Erik, searching for Luna at a café, meets eighteen-year-old biracial Jaylyn. Jaylyn, a classical pianist with a past pill-habit, has a vague memory of Luna but is distracted by a charming man, Ramon, who wants her help in escaping his violent father. It seems that Ramon’s father may have killed someone, but Jaylyn does not make a connection with Dan’s murder.
When Luna is found, the case only becomes more complicated, and the question of whom to trust more fraught. Luna won’t talk about her boyfriend, Nancy shuts out Deb, Erik is sent on false leads, Gordy angers the crime boss, and Jaylyn is exposed to drugs and danger. With a truck plunging into the river, a courtroom escape, mishaps on a golf course, and a chase that ends in a tiger pit, the crime cannot be solved unless Erik and
Deb can convince suspicious people to trust them.
Should Grace Fail is the second book in the Twin Cities Mystery series.
Priscilla grew up on a dairy farm in Maine, a state of woods, lakes, and rivers. She now lives in Minnesota, another state of woods, lakes, and rivers, not far from urban Minneapolis and St. Paul. She received a B.A. from Bowdoin College, a Ph.D. in English Literature from Boston College, and was a college professor. She has previously published a children’s book, Howard and the Sitter Surprise, and a book on Robert Frost and Andrew Wyeth, Abandoned New England. She participates in community advocacy and literacy programs, takes photos of birds, and contemplates (fictional) murder.
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