A furiously boiling tale of schemers smuggling drugs, children, and more.
Determined to claw her way up from the Los Angeles Times’s suburban beat, Eve Diamond is following William Maxwell, of the US Customs Agency, on a routine day that suddenly explodes in violence when gunfire at the airport leaves three dead and a two-year-old child missing. Convinced INS officials are holding the girl until she can be deported, Eve struggles to track her down, then recoils in horror when she realizes she’s neither the most determined nor the most deadly of the toddler’s pursuers. As Eve follows Serey Rath (is she Korean? Thai? Cambodian?) through a thicket of anonymous hotels, dubious adoption agencies, and made-for-Hollywood set pieces, she brushes up against a ten-year-old gaming king, a save-the-world immigration lawyer, and a fatuous celebrity couple hungry for the girl they plan to call Star Saffron. But nobody makes a deeper impression than her ex-lover Tim Waters, now unsettlingly back in her life, or Silvio Aguilar, the entertainment-promotion scion she took up with in Sugar Skull (2003), whose embraces now threaten her with a baby much closer to home. And she finds the question one sullied suspect asks her—“Wouldn’t you go to the mat for your child?”—resonating in unbearably painful ways.
Beneath the overplotted intrigue is a starkly powerful tale of parents desperate for the children they can never protect from a boundlessly treacherous world.