Linda Grant. Blind Trust (1990) 274 pp.
When her biggest client files for bankruptcy, San Francisco private eye Catherine Sayler is in danger of losing her agency. In order to keep the lights on and her employees employed, Catherine takes a job she ordinarily would have refused: a missing person case. Bank executive Daniel Martin asks her to locate James Mendoza, a computer security expert whom he suspects is planning to take advantage of a flaw in the bank’s computer system to embezzle five million dollars—and she only has fourteen days in which to find him. Mendoza has mysteriously vanished, leaving his pregnant wife behind. With the help of her “squeeze” Peter Harman, himself a free-lance PI, Catherine follows the trail to Mendoza’s tule fog-bound hometown of Modesto, in California’s San Joaquin Valley. There she meets several of Mendoza’s Vietnam War buddies, a tight-knit group who shares secrets from the war. When it becomes obvious that there is someone following her and Peter, and that he is professional, Catherine has to decide very quickly who she can trust—and convince them to trust her—or they will end up very dead.