James Colbert. Profit and Sheen (1986) 283 pp.
The inclusion of this novel here is somewhat dubious. The action takes place primarily in and around New Orleans, with brief side trips to Miami and the San Francisco Bay Area. But, Don Herron included it in his rundown of San Francisco mysteries, so here it is. In this debut, New Orleans cocaine dealer Daniel Profit (is that his real name? I never could tell for sure) wants to get out of the life. But, in order to do that, he needs one big, final score. And to do that he needs the security that can be provided by ex-cop Sheen Vicedomini, who has been kicked off of the NOPD force. In order to get their supply, Profit and Sheen make a couple of very brief trips to San Francisco. On one of the trips, Sheen makes a brief stop to take in the view, which provides for a nice descriptive passage: “Sheen was ahead of the schedule he had set for himself, and after he had crossed the Golden Gate Bridge, he turned onto the road that led to the scenic outlook on the north side of the bay. The curving drive turned him back in the direction from which he had come so that he faced the bridge he had just crossed. The Golden Gate’s odd orange lights faded into the looming Presidio shadows, and unconsciously his eye followed the sweeping curve of the massive cables arcing away into darkness. Across the bay, past Alcatraz, San Francisco sparkled. The individually hard and brittle pinpoints of light formed a brilliant cluster that was somehow soft. Sheen got out of the car and stood by the low, stone fence that bordered the outlook. He felt intensely alive, his nerves as taut as strings that produce high notes. The air was crisp, and the wind seemed to anticipate him, blowing in his face no matter which way he turned. He saw a small boat crossing the bay, rolling violently on the black water beneath the bridge. An unwise voyage, he thought, and surrendered to the cold wind and got back into the car.
Setting: New Orleans; San Francisco; Miami