Somebody's stalking the young hookers of Hell's Kitchen, and no one but a former Central American activist nun seems to care. Really Care. Santiago, a journalist and onetime New York political press officer, is the author of Room 9 (1992). Street-child shelter operator Anna Eltern is plagued by, among other things, municipal budget woes, a backstabbing staff priest, insufficient space, her own family, which is straight from the talk shows, Roman Catholic ambivalence, Guatemalan flashbacks, an excessively smooth Washington politician, and historic sexual frustration. Fortunately for the teenage male and female prostitutes of 42nd Street, Anna is made of stern stuff and, in the face of the aforementioned plagues, never gives up on her quest to feed and shelter as many youthful offenders as come to her door. But open-door policy has been hobbled by the city's budget crisis. What is she to do with Colin, the preppy guitarist and hustler brought to the shelter by Jesus, the Puerto Rican Irish cop who may have a thing for Anna? What is she to do with Porsche, the beautiful, too-tough 14-year-old hooker who shows up with a kitten in her pocket? Flouting rules and policies, Anna puts Porsche and Colin up in her own crummy apartment and gets in big trouble. Porsche plunges to her death, and Colin seems to be responsible. It's up to Anna and Jesus to find the real killer, who probably slit the throat of three other prostitutes and may slit more. Is he Porsche's odious pimp? Is he the smooth-talking bureaucrat who looks just like Anna's long-lost clerical love? Melodramatic and very messy. Angles dangle, and the murderer arrives from Neptune.
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