Bo Bradley is on new meds for her manic-depression, but she still feels as if her job with San Diego's Child Protective Services involves moving mountains and jousting with windmills. Her latest client is an eight-month-old baby named Acito who's been brought in with a serious case of herbal poisoning. Who would want to kill an infant, especially one to whom so many people--his casual foster parents; his mother, Chac Bolon, an ambitious Tijuana nightclub singer with a checkered past; Chac's husband, Dewayne Singleton, whose brand of Islam (picked up in a Louisiana jail) gets odd twists from the bipolar disorder that's never been diagnosed; and everyone in the faceless San Diego child-care system--seem indifferent? Convinced that demons are going to harm Chac, Dewayne breaks out of prison to warn her, but he's too late; moments after he turns up at her club, she's been poisoned too, this time fatally. And Bo finds her search for Acito's real father (Dewayne? Chac's teenaged companion, Chris Joe Gavin? her Australian manager, Munson Terrell?) leading her unnervingly close to whoever killed Chac--and has marked Bo for death as well. Bo dances less successfully than in Strawgirl (1994), between zealous indictment of an uncaring system and fevered self-torment. But she's still hands down the most original detective to set up shop in the past ten years.