DAVID HOUSEWRIGHT – A Hard Ticket Home. Rushmore McKenzie #1. St. Martin’s Press, hardcover , 2004. Leisure, paperback, March 2006.

   There is a small but significant subgrouping of PI novels and other tales that consists of PI’s who aren’t really PI’s, but who are so rich that they can take on cases for free on behalf of friends and other people he knows, but who can’t pay for real (licensed) PI’s.

   Such is the case of St.Paul MN-based non-PI Rushmore McKenzie. He quit the police force in order to be able to accept a finders fee from an insurance company after tracking down an embezzler who’d stolen six million dollars for them.

   In this, his first case (of a total of eighteen now), he goes hunting for a missing daughter whose blood type as a donor  is what her parents need as to help save another, much younger daughter. Little does Rush know what he’s about to get into. A serial killer of sorts, an elite club of Minnesota socialites, a gang of ruthless urban hoods, and all layers of society in between.

   Rush is the kind of guy who gets himself into bad situations for bad reasons without thinking about the possible consequences, and he pays the price for it. He also loses one long-time girl friend, but they are hints that he will soon have another. It’s a lengthy investigation, with several twisting trails to follow, and if you expect them to be tied up in a single well-wrapped package, you may be mistaken.

   Readers who love hard-boiled PI fiction will find much to like with this one. And if you like it as much as I did, you’re in luck. There are, after all, seventeen more of them.