Texas private-eye Dan Roman's fifth case (following From a High Place, etc.) strikes even closer to home than usual: following the invasion of his home by Mickey Conrad--a randy rock-star whom Dan's journalist wife Susie wants to interview--the Romans quarrel and separate; Susie goes to interview Conrad; reportedly leaves his compound . . .and disappears. Dan promptly goes after Conrad but finds his whining denials bolstered by a new discovery: a wrecked car in a ravine along the road from Conrad's place--with a dead woman burned to death in the passenger seat and a scratch of paint from Susie's car on the front fender. Who drove the car, and what has been done with Susie? When the accident victim turns out to be Charley Wilkins, a prostitute with links to several aspiring politicians, the field opens wide, and Dan runs from one politico to the next calling names and making threats, taking time out from his Mike Hammerish mission of vengeance only for long bouts of drinking and periods of sensual solace with Charley's colleague Alicia. Despite some good action sequences, Dan spends entirely too much time "bemoaning my wasted past, my useless present, and my hopeless future" to do much detection. After a promising start, this is strictly routine, with Dan's earnest depression clouding his usually sharp eye.