Marcia Muller. The Dangerous Hour (2004) 290 pp.
In San Francisco, the staff of McCone Investigations holds a meeting to discuss the success of the business, which has tripled in less than two years, branching out into new areas like computer forensics, and how bright the future seems. The meeting is barely over when the SFPD Fraud Detail Mirandizes trainee Julia Rafael for illegally purchasing items with a credit card belonging to jobs training program supervisor Alex Aguilar. The victim claims she stole and used his card after he rejected her sexual advances. McCone thinks Alex was a satisfied customer who is now accusing one of Sharon’s operatives of grand theft. She also realizes that since Julia, as a trainee, was unlicensed with the Department of Consumer Affairs, Sharon and her company are liable, which could lead to a loss of their license. Insisting she is innocent, Julia observes that she is too small a target to matter. Sharon agrees that the goal has to be a bigger fish, probably herself, but by whom, why and the tie in to Aguilar, a potential Mayoral candidate, remain unknown. She and her crack staff plan to find out and prove her trust in Julia was, and is, the right thing.