Summary: Casino private detective/security guard Joe Quinns gambling cost him his job, car, clothes & girlfriend so he's hitchhiking from Reno back to California (after the friend who drove him partway back dropped him off along the side of the road about 50 miles from home). At a back-country compound housing a religious cult (the friend says they will offer him food/drink and a place to sleep before making his way the rest of the way home), Quinn gambles again, when Sister Blessing (the cults elderly nurse & manager of the compound) asks him to locate Patrick O'Gorman. Though Quinn tempted by the cash (shes paying him with money her son sends her as cult members have renounced all worldly possessions) as hes broke & has no better job prospect will soon find this simple job (go find out if OGorman is now staying in a nearby town & report back to her) proves to be no easy task as O'Gorman's missing and presumed dead (for several years and his disappearance caused a scandal that rocked the town) - and, Quinn wagers, not so accidentally as everyone insists.
Reviews: I agree that this is a wry look at those drawn to cults (with Ed Gorman's Forgotten Booklist) and that its wonderful tone/atmostphere made it an enjoyable and interesting mystery (with Olman's 50).
Suspense story in a southern CA religious cult.
Large print edition ---- The true believers lived in holiness and poverty in the middle of nowhere. Joe Quinn had been a casino cop in Reno. He was not what you could call a religious man. Just down on his luck but for a night's uncomfortable lodging and $120, Joe was ready to accept a new commission from Sister Blessing of the Salvation. All he had to do was find a dead man.