Daughters of Bad Men by Laura Oles
'Do you think you can get my money back?'
Jamie Rush was used to that question, just as she was accustomed to tempering her answers with hope while still remaining honest about the realities of such cases. As a skip tracer in the small town of Port Alene, Texas, Jamie had built a somewhat steady clientele of women just like Sarah Mathers.
Sarah, a single mother of two little boys, sat across from Jamie, her small frame almost folded in on itself. The weight of being in such a situation showed itself in her posture and in her eyes. It was as if she wore the shame of her circumstances like a blanket.
'I'm going to do everything I can,' Jamie said. 'Start from the beginning. Tell me about him.'
I read Daughters of Bad Men for our mystery group's August Theme - 'A Staycation'. And I really, really enjoyed it. So glad to get to meet Jamie and Cookie and Erin and Deuce (Jamie's sweet dog). Oh, and I'm glad I got to meet their creator in the spring at Malice Domestic - Laura Oles. This is Laura's first crime novel and she certainly deserved her nomination for 'Best First Mystery' at Malice. Set in the fictional Port Alene, Texas (based on Port Aransas near Corpus Christi), Jamie Rush makes her living as a skip tracer. She learned her skills from her 'shady' family, but she's made a 'real' and loving family with her friends in this small town. Plus her beloved Deuce. She works inside and outside the law, but she really tries to do the right thing and serve justice.
Jamie's brother, Brian, asks her to find his missing daughter, Kristen, and Jamie only agrees because Kristen is important to her. Just as Jamie is a 'daughter of a bad man', so is Kristen (and also others included in the story). Her business partner, Cookie Hinojosa, a big man with a tender heart, helps her as do other friends and contacts. That's all I'll say about the plot. Full of glimpses of the Texas coastal setting, this book all but smells of salt air, delicious tacos and fresh fish. I was pleased with the ending and I certainly hope that we'll get to see Jamie and Cookie again in another book. This one is recommended!
Jamie Rush understands what it takes to disappear because her parents taught her that long ago. Leveraging her knowledge of why and how people run from their own lives, Jamie has built a business based on bringing those in hiding back to answer for their actions. She takes pride in using her somewhat shady skills to work both inside and outside the law.
When her estranged brother, Brian, calls and says his daughter is missing, Jamie initially turns down the case. Kristen has always been a bit wild, frequently dropping off the grid then showing up a few days later. But Brian swears this time is different, and even though Jamie vowed years ago to keep her conniving sibling at arm’s length, she can’t walk away if Kristen could be in real trouble.
As Jamie begins digging into Kristen’s life, she uncovers her niece’s most guarded secrets. Uncovering the truth will put a target on Jamie’s back and endanger the lives of those she loves.