Cass Raines Mystery Book 4
June 29th, 2021
Runner by Tracy Clark is the fourth in the series. It features a great protagonist, Cassidy Raines, ex-police who has decided to now pursue a career as a private investigator.
Cassidy decided to leave the police profession to pursue her obsession with finding missing children. She feels that there must be an advocate for the children left behind by their parents and either end up on the street or in foster homes. Her analytical skills along with being streetwise allow her to pursue missing children.
Clark noted, “I read an item in the newspaper about runaway children. I thought about all the children that had done this and what social services are available. This is how Runner built up. My main character is a PI, so I wanted her to have a case wrapped around children in jeopardy. I also did some research and wondered what could happen if a child fell through the cracks”
The plot has Lessa Evans, a recovering addict, wanting to hire PI Cassidy “Cass or Cassie” Raines to find her daughter, runaway 15-year-old Ramona Titus. The child has left her latest foster home, and it seems that Ramona does not want to be found. Besides having an uphill battle to locate Ramona, Cassie must also battle the brutal Chicago winter.
“I wrote Cass as a classic PI type, a bit like Sam Spade but in a dress. She can be very stubborn, an outsider, a loner, and headstrong. Having been a former homicide detective with the Chicago Police Department she sees the world through those eyes and the world sees her as police. At times she can be foolhardy because of her own set of rules and ethics.”
Cass visits Ramona’s foster mother, Deloris Poole, who is also desperate to bring the girl home. Ramona came to Deloris six months ago, angry, and distrustful, but was slowly opening up. In the mix are also retired police detective Frank Martini, and child placement worker Ronald Shaw. Cass discovers that the three are not what they seem, and that Ramona discovered some dark secrets these three held. The secrets are enough to get Ramona and Cassie killed if they cannot expose the truth first.
“I wanted to portray Romana as a survivor who is savvy and smart. She has learned how to protect herself while everything seems to be falling apart around her. Ramona is damaged, broken, shy, quiet, and has trust issues that causes her to shut down. She is falsely portrayed as a thief and someone with psychological problems. I showed how the runaway girl, Ramona, was moved from foster home to foster home. Unfortunately, she does not have a support mechanism, a net to protect her until Cass comes into her life.”
Not only will readers get a good crime novel, but they will also be exposed to relevant social issues. The plot is enhanced by a great protagonist who is witty and smart.