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It never rains, but it pours in Portland, Oregon. At least that’s how it seems to Detective Galen Young. The police are already busy with several high-profile crimes, including the abduction of a four-year-old girl from a local shopping mall, when another person goes missing.
Robert Armlin, the Opinion Page editor for the Oregon Sentinel was last seen exercising at his local fitness club on Saturday afternoon, and his frantic wife alerts the police about his failure to return home that evening. Detective Young quickly exhausts any possible leads into the editor’s disappearance, so he delves into Mr. Armlin’s prior newspaper columns to gain insights into his personality and to discover any enemies Armlin may have made through his opinion pieces. There are many who disagree with the editor’s viewpoint, and they are not shy about letting him know it. In the midst of the investigation, Detective Young’s family is struck by a personal tragedy that leaves the detective struggling to balance the demands of work and home.
Little progress is being made in the cases of the missing editor and the kidnapped girl when an unexpected connection between the two is revealed that leaves Galen and his colleagues scrambling for answers.
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A stagnant case suddenly comes back to life when Robert Armlin’s cell phone shows up on the body of a Portland vagrant. Armlin, the missing Oregon Sentinel opinion page editor who was presumed to have met a bad end, becomes once again one of detective Galen Young’s primary assignments. The appearance of a ransom note only serves to increase the Portland Police Bureau’s suspicions that Armlin may still be alive but in danger.
At the same time, Galen becomes enmeshed in complications arising from a routine missing persons case. Erin Roberts was reported missing but returned home to her husband after a brief but failed affair. The news a short time later of her death from a rainy night hit-and-run comes as an unexpected shock to the detective. Nothing strikes him as suspicious about her death, however, until Galen happens to read her obituary. A single out-of-place sentence leads the detective on a search for Erin’s suspected killer – along a twisted and increasingly perilous trail.
His approaching mandatory retirement age from the Bureau, his own health, and caring for his incarcerated daughter’s sons are difficult enough, but Portland’s street demonstrations over George Floyd’s death, the global pandemic, and the detective’s unravelling home life only serve to further exacerbate problems for detective Galen Young.
Be advised: The Obituary Page is a standalone sequel to The Opinion Page but contains spoilers to that earlier mystery.