William Babula. St. John’s Bestiary (1994) 261 pp.
Publisher’s description: “Jeremiah St. John didn’t need the money. He and his partners, Mickey Farrabaugh and Chief Moses Tamiami, had been having a pretty good run of business with their detective agency in the past few months, so when Professor Krift of a nearby San Francisco university drops into St. John’s office and asks him to find his eight missing felines, St. John could have said no, he didn’t do catnappings. But he says yes, because he’s ‘ambivalent’ about the good that animal research can do for human beings, and besides, he likes cats. Then, after rescuing the victims from a ruthless gang of animal rights activists known as the CFAF [Committee for Animal Freedom], the CFAF kidnaps the professor’s daughter and holds her for ransom in retaliation. The case grows deadly with the death of the professor’s daughter, which is followed by three other murders—including Jeremiah’s new love, Ollie Shimoda. Vowing revenge on the person or persons who have taken her life, St. John follows a trail that leads to university grant fraud, drug money, child prostitution, the porno film business, the theft of his cherished classic ‘55 T-Bird, and almost costs him his life.”
Setting: San Francisco