An ex-surfer, ex-husband turned Malibu private eye helps a distressed damsel.
Donald Tremaine cancels his vacation when pretty, sad-eyed Nina Aldeen asks him to solve a case the L.A. cops have given up on. Her uncle Roger Gale, an advertising megastar, has been found bashed and strangled at his office. No one knows why, and the principal suspect, a rival adman, is indictment-proof. Leaving his aged bulldog Lyle to snooze, Donald interviews Gale's co-workers, widow and stepson and comes up empty. Nobody seems to have a motive. But a turn in the surf and some quality time basking on his trailer rooftop get his investigative juices flowing, and soon he's tracking down Gale's purported mistress, his ad rival's mob connections and a cop who worked the original case, then hightailed it to Atlanta. En route to the solution, Donald meets several fans from his pro-surfer days and lusts after several beauties who cross his path. And he tosses the obligatory wisecracks around with his buddy, a local cop. More surfing, more ogling and a dip into some other old case files help Donald solve not one but two murders.
Ex-adman Craven's mystery debut has the plot depth of a half-hour TV caper, but the style is slick. If Harlan Coben doesn't write fast enough for you, this might ease your drought.