I literally just got done reading this book and had to tell you about it. Those of you who know me, know I don't usually read PI stories. I may love the Thin Man movies, but PI tales have never been my thing. Brandt Dodson has changed that.
The fourth installment in Brandt Dodson's Colton Parker Mysteries, The Lost Sheep is a fantastic read. I don't usually like gritty PI type stories. The bleakness can wear me down. But there is something about the characters that Brandt crafts that propels me through stories that do nothing to hide the ugly side of life while reflecting enough light to keep the darkness from being overwhelming.
In The Lost Sheep, Colton Parker's 15-year old daughter runs away and leaves only a voicemail for her father. In it she tells him not to look for her and nothing else. From that moment he is desperate to find her before something awful happens to her.
From the back cover copy, I thought the story would start slowly with everything right in Colton's world. And after book three, I thought he'd deserved a moment to breathe. However, Brandt must follow Donald Maas' exhortation to torture his characters, because from page one the story raced to the ending. I started it at midnight, thinking I'd just read a chapter, and forty minutes later forced myself to put it down and turn off the light. Each time I picked it up it took incredible effort to put the book back down. The pacing of the plot is tight with short chapters that propel you through the story with the promise of "just one more."
The author has also populated the book with an assortment of supporting characters that reflect all aspects of Colton. Marty demonstrates a sacrificial way of living after a hard life. Mary Christopher shows up at a key time and prevents Colton's rage from destroying him. And Pastor Milliken surprises Colton with his past and his persistence.
The book is set in Indianapolis and Las Vegas, and the cities are carefully interwoven into the story with skill. Reading the book is like a visit to the under-belly of Sin City, but manages not to rob the reader of hope.