Sears, Michael. Mortal Bonds (Putnam $26.95). Lord, Sears’ first, Black Fridays ($9.99), is nominated for various awards and starts a terrific series where the real goal of ex-felon Jason Stafford is to nurture and protect his young son who has Asperger’s. In this it’s a bit like Ridley Pearson’s Rutherfurd Risk series and also Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time and, in First Novels this Booknews, the Simsion debut although the Asperger’s guy there is an adult trying to date with no clue how. I made Black Fridays a First Mystery Club Pick and am truly thrilled to find this sequel an even stronger book (always a good sign for a career). There’s a touch of Bernie Maddox in the plot premise: William von Becker ran one of the largest privately held investment banks in North America, until the bottom fell out, and the whole edifice was demonstrated to be a fraud. Moving into fiction, after von Becker dies in prison, financial investigator Jason Stafford is hired by his family. There is still a lot of missing money out there, he’s told, and they want Stafford to find it before the Feds do—and certain other parties, some of whom are nowhere near as scrupulous in their methods. Bad things start happening to the people Stafford talks to. Soon bad things are happening to him as well. Making it worse, his treacherous ex-wife plus some family has come to town, ostensibly to visit their young son. Stafford suspects there’s more to it than that, but even he has no idea how much that visit is about to cost him, endanger his child, and maybe start Jason on a new chapter of his life.