Pete Thorsen has been retired from his law practice for some time, but somehow trouble shows up on his doorstep. When Pete’s daughter, Julie, comes home after graduating from boarding school, she is looking forward to a relaxing summer of fun at the lake. One of her first days home, she goes jet-skiing with Pete’s friend, Bud. When they coast close to the beach to chat, Pete, watching from his balcony, sees Bud go down. Julie races for help, and Pete goes to the site only to find Bud dead from a gunshot.
Pete has an adversarial relationship with the local sheriff, and the sheriff puts Pete in the crosshairs of the investigation when the sheriff finds papers in Bud’s home that imply Pete may have been in collusion with Bud in a Ponzi scheme. Fortunately, Pete has a friend who is a detective in the department and who keeps Pete apprised of how the case is going. Of course, Pete gets involved in the investigation in order to clear his name, and he often takes Julie along during his interviews, exposing her to people who might endanger her. There are several people who lost money in the scheme, but there are others as well who might have motive. The case becomes more and more convoluted, but Pete stays with it. Then Julie goes missing, and Pete realizes he may have been looking in the wrong direction.
Author Robert Wangard has written a good mystery with red herrings galore. The small-town setting allows for a cadre of friends to help Pete in his investigating and to help look out for Julie. Some of the characters are uneven. For instance, Julie, 18, often seems closer to 13, while at other times she seems older than her age. The book could use some pruning, but overall it is a good mystery that will keep readers guessing and give them a satisfying result.