A distraught academic gets repeated stiff jolts of reality when he tries to invade the earthy milieu of factoryhands while searching for his abducted son: an effective child-at-risk thriller from the pseudonymous Barrow (Flawless, 1995). On a summer Sunday outing with his parents at Chicago's Adler Planetarium, three-year-old Jeff Quinn suddenly disappears. While mother Lori retreats into a near-catatonic state, father Marshall (a sociology professor at a suburban college) decides that the police aren't doing enough and takes matters into his own hands. As he blankets the metropolitan area with fliers and photos, it becomes clear that Jeff has been kidnapped on the orders of Odell DeCruz (a.k.a. Dingo), a small-time hustler who deals drugs and stolen goods to the working stiffs at Cicero's Norse Aluminum Plant through a low-life middleman, and who sells young children to anxious couples who ask no questions about the children's origins. Dale and Norma Buckley, a kindly blue-collar couple who lost a beloved young daughter to leukemia, pay $20,000 to ``adopt'' the missing lad they call Davie. Against the odds, Marshall's despairing efforts ultimately produce results, leading him to the Norse plant where Dale is employed. Predictably, his initial attempts to break the closed ranks of this hellish facility's cliquish laborers not only earn him repeated rebuffs and a savage beating but also bring an enraged Dingo back into the game. Bloody but unbowed, Marsh perseveres. With a little help from an unlikely friend he made when canvassing neighborhood bars, the tormented dad gets past the mill's main gate during the company's annual Open House. Once inside, he's able to instigate the violent and, in two cases, deadly confrontations that eventually reunite him with his son. A solid, hard-edged tale whose hero is a cultured but ordinary man obliged by circumstance to pit himself against dark, inhuman forces he's ill-equipped to understand.