Chris Larsgaard. The Heir Hunter (2000) 356 pp.
Publisher’s description: “Nick Merchant is an heir hunter—a little-known species of private investigator who searches for a dead person’s next of kin when no will exists, and collects a percentage of the estate. Gerald Jacobs is a reclusive millionaire, found dead in a creaky old house in upstate New York. His net worth: twenty-two million dollars. Nick and his beautiful partner (and former girlfriend) Alex Moreno think they’re about to score the payday of a lifetime. Unfortunately, they've got some pretty stiff competition. A rival firm is doing its best to beat them to the punch. And someone else—someone who knows every dark secret in Gerald Jacobs’s grave—will stop at nothing to see that no one ever breaks this case. Nick and Alex work against the clock, narrowly eluding their rivals, dodging bullets, and unearthing a history a lot of people would rather keep buried. Moving from San Francisco to New York City, from Geneva to Washington, D.C.—and dozens of points in between—they struggle to uncover the guilty secret behind a dead man’s fortune.”