In Going Now Where Fast, Gar Anthony Haywood introduced retired senior citizen sleuth Dottie Loudermilk, who, with her husband, travels around the country in an Airstream trailer home. Along the way, trouble just seems to find them.
We learn a little more about the Loudermilks in the second novel Bad News Travels Fast. Joe retired “from the El Segundo, California, Police Department,” and Dottie retired from the ”faculty of Loyola Marymount University.” Upon retirement, they decided to make their home the open highway: “the question wasn't how often we'd like to leave home, but how fast we could get out of town, and where we could best hide for the remainder of our lives.”
Trouble again finds the Loudermilks while they are in Washington DC visiting their son Eddie. He is arrested and charged with murdering Emmitt Bell, a member of his little protest group whom he and the other members, Stacy, Eileen, and Angus had kicked out. He and Eddie had argued in Eddie’s apartment while Dottie and Joe were present shortly before Emmitt was found dead from a stab wound with a knife Eddie possessed. The warning from the two Washington DC detectives handling the case do not stop Dottie and Joe from looking for evidence to prove their son did not kill Emmitt.
The plot involves the search for a book that might contain dirt on a US Senator. Emmitt had asked Stacy for $500.00 to buy the book that he claimed would make a big splash. Dottie discovers the name of the book on the back of the luggage tag in Emmitt’s bag: “Get It In Writing—The Power of Modern Litigation.” She, Joe, and their daughter Maureen, who comes from California when she discovers the license plate number her parents gave her to check belongs to a car in the congressional motor pool that a Capitol police officer was using to follow Joe and Dottie, begin searching for the book. They feel it is the key to why Emmitt was killed and could lead to the killer.
I enjoyed Bad News Travels Fast. Dottie, even if she is meddlesome and clever at getting husband Joe to do what she wants, makes it fun to read. She is a strong woman who will not let the officials prevent her from proving her son innocent. The novel also has its humorous moments. In the prologue, Dottie acts crazy in front of the Lincoln Monument, telling the other tourists she saw Lincoln’s eyes move. I had to smile at the way the Loudermilks faced danger when I read the incident in which the they find themselves in danger of being killed in crack house.
The big flaw in the plot is Haywood’s failure show who put the book in the place where it is eventually found, and how they got it there. Since the book is the key to the solution of who killed Emmitt and was found in plain sight, how it got there and who put it there are important.
No, I can’t reveal the location of the book for it would spoil your enjoyment in finding it for yourself.