J. D. Tafford departs from his Michael Collins series to introduce Justin Glass, a mixed-race lawyer trying to get out from the depression that has plagues him since his young wife’s death. Raising his daughter alone, he’s also under the shadow of his political family. His black senator father, a civil rights proponet, and state congressman brother are pressuring him to run for office. His law practice suffered greatly after his wife’s death, and Justin is squeaking by as a public defender, while he and his daughter live in the carriage house of his white mother’s family home with her judge father.

Into his sweltering St. Louise office on a hot summer day comes an 8 yr-old girl with a jar full of change. Tanisha Walker wants to hire him to find her missing brother. With racial tensions high in the area between the African-American and the mostly white police department, Glass reluctantly takes her case and soon finds himself on the receiving end of police mistreatment. It’s a rude awakening, but doesn’t prepare him for when the brother’s body is found buried in the woods, along with over a dozen other teens.

Soon Justin finds many missing teens’ families lined up outside his offic asking for help for locating the “Lost Boys,” the media’s name for the missing boys. The common thread at first is that all had been troubled youths. As he juggles issues with his daughter at school and tries to make decisions about his future, he hires an assistant who smartens his office and gets him organized. And then his searching turns up another commonality that will leave Justin in jeopardy, and all bets are off.

Tafford covers topical issues without over-preaching. His own legal background makes the court system echo with reality. St. Louis simmers in the hot summer and readers will feel they are immersed in the city and in a great mystery.

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