Little Boy Lost by J.D. Trafford
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
When a little girl walks into down and out St. Louis lawyer Justin Glass's office with a jar full of change, he has no choice but to take her case: find her missing brother. Unfortunately, the trail leads somewhere sinister...
Little Boy Lost is a legal thriller set in my back yard, St. Louis, Missouri. Trafford does a great job capturing the feel of St. Louis and there are a lot of details that give it additional authenticity. I loved that Justin won the Crown Candy Kitchen milkshake challenge in his youth.
Justin is a likeable but damaged lead, haunted by memories of his dead wife, caught in his father's and brother's political machinations. The case is fairly serpentine. Even though I knew the main suspect was a red herring, Trafford kept making me think he did it. Just who the hell is killing gang members anyway? I figured it out just a page or two before Justin did, almost when it was too late.
The side plots keep the book from becoming a formulaic thriller. Justin's relatives keep wanting to drag him into politics, his daughter is being bullied at school, and there are a few other things going on. Another thing the book has going for it is a surprisingly deep supporting cast for the first book in what is probably going to be a series: Schmitty the cop, Emma, Justin's way too capable paralegal, and the Bosnians working a the coffee shop up the road, Hermes and Nikolai.
Little Boy Lost is a good first book in what promises to be a great series. Four out of five stars.
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