I used to like Ridley Pearson’s work quite a bit, especially his series involving Seattle Police Sergeant Lou Boldt. But ever since he changed to a series that takes place in Sun Valley featuring Sheriff Walt Fleming, I haven’t been knocked out by him. In Harm’s Way seeks the best of both worlds by adding some characters from the Seattle series to this story that takes place in Sun Valley.
Sheriff Fleming, divorced with a pair of eleven-year-old twins, is interested romantically in his crime scene photographer, Fiona Kenshaw. Fiona runs from steaming hot to icy cold with Walt, and for some reason, he doesn’t seem to mind – in fact, he just figures he has forgotten how to read women. (I, on the other hand, found Fiona very annoying.)
Fiona is house-sitting for a wealthy couple who are away for the summer, and she has invited her mentee Kira Tulivich to be her associate caretaker. Kira is a 21-year-old girl who was the victim of a violent assault two years earlier. The whole town seems to feel protective toward Kira, but Fiona in particular has an ability to empathize with her. One suspects that Fiona has had a similar experience.
When a prowler starts vandalizing the rich homes in the area, Fiona and Kira, somewhat isolated on the large property where they are staying, are quite frightened and keep baseball bats by the doors. And when a famous football player shows up dead from a baseball crack to the skull, Walt fears that either or both of the women may be implicated.
Seattle’s Lou Boldt enters the picture because he has also encountered a dead body with ties to the famous football player, as well as to some of the glitterati in Sun Valley. Although the two men join forces to solve the crimes, Walt holds back information from Lou. Walt thinks he may be in love with Fiona, and in any event he wants to protect Kira after her previous trauma.
Evaluation: Readable, but not memorable. I would primarily recommend it for fans of Ridley Pearson and in particular, those who follow either or both of the two detective series.
Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2010