Middle of Nowhere

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

In a decade and a half Ridley Pearson has published a surprising seventeen suspense, crime, and detective novels—seven of them involving Seattle detective Lou Boldt and Daphne Matthews, police psychologist. Rather than flagging after fifteen years of nearly non-stop writing, Pearson’s powers as a creator of complex plots and intriguing characters are expanding.

Despite being overworked and understaffed—and despite the apparent defection of his longtime right-hand man, detective John LaMoia to the ranks of the strikers—Boldt feels compelled to throw all of his energies into investigating the extraordinarily brutal beating of a female detective in her own home. Was Maria Sanchez left paralyzed in a hospital bed by a burglary that went wrong? Did someone she knew try to kill her? Or does her attack have something to do with the string of mysterious home break-ins she was investigating? Even more troubling, is Boldt needlessly endangering his marriage and foolishly putting his life at risk in order to pursue this case?

Bolt and Daphne Matthews gradually make their lonely progress on the case, zeroing in on a surprising pair of suspects: a convict running a clever telephone scam from a Denver prison and his brutal, at-large brother. Along the way, Boldt suffers a brutal, disabling beating in his own driveway, a message from his striking fellow-officers about his refusal to join in their sick- out.

The final chapters of Middle of Nowhere picture a suspenseful auto chase over stormy night roads on Puget Sound’s Bainbridge Island, as Boldt and LaMoia chase a murderer who is using Daphne Matthews as bait to trap and kill Boldt.