New Orleans p.i. Neal Rafferty (The Killing Circle, A Diamond Before You Die) crosses the river to Westwego to answer a call for help from old girlfriend Jackie Silva. Jackie's bar, The Emerald Lizard, has been financed by self-styled fisherman Bubba Brevna, who's been threatening her since she got behind in her payments. And you don't want to get threatened by Bubba, whose enforcers include the Impastato brothers and towering Rodney Nutley, a.k.a. Godzilla, ""the nation's first brain transplant."" The night Neal goes to see Bubba, The Emerald Lizard bums to the ground--by the same device used to bum a neighboring place a few months before--and next day Jackie turns up dead. Brutish cop Delbert Dietz pulls in Jackie's ineffectual, death-haunted husband Larry, but Neal doesn't have to look far for more likely suspects. In addition to Bubba and his goons, there's Jackie's sharp-eared bartender Jeff Bonage; barhopping cowboy Clem Winkler; rival lounge-manager/bookie Mave Scoggins; gentle neighboring cop Aubrey Wohl's wife Pam, who's stuck on Larry; and Nears own friends--workaholic lawyer Maurice; Maurice's new girlfriend Nita Greene, who photographs hookers; and Neal's own current lover, tigerish Diana DiCarlo. Think they can't all be involved in this twisted tale? Think again. Neal is as fine a knight-errant/narrator as you could want, but this case is a mess, with enough ill-assorted felonies to land the whole cast in the slammer (where most of them belong). When will Neal get a plot as good as he is?