A teen guy was brought to an exclusive reform school which was not nice by any stretch of imagination. It strongly reminded me of the following:
If you do not know where the image comes from, shame on you: go read the book or watch the movie; this is one of the rarest occasions where the movie and the book are equally good.
In is little wonder the teen escaped; not only he escaped, he also completely disappeared. Trying to avoid the bad publicity the school's principal hired a PI - none other than Lew Archer - to find the runaway. Instead of the teen Archer found a dead body and complete lack of cooperation from all interested parties. The boy was still nowhere to be seen.
I gave this novel 3.5 stars
, but had to round it down despite the fact that it is much better than my usual 3 star reads; it was still quite a page turner. As a nice bonus it has a very well written teen girl (Stella). Sorry but I will have to shout to emphasize my point here. Dear writers - of romance and any other genre, this is how you write an interesting teen girl in love who is nice and not an extremely selfish person who cares nothing about except her feelings!!!
I do believe the art of writing such characters is practically lost in modern literature.
Why the low rating in this case? The plot is predictable. I was able to guess the identity of the villain in the second half and only watched the gathering of evidence against him/her as a passive spectator. Ross Macdonald's plots are much more complicated usually. It is nowhere near as gripping as the previous installment of the series.
My summary: mild disappointment, but still worth reading.