Timely stuff. The free-for-all corruption of Phoenix, Arizona, and the hot news about nuclear waste matter--brought together in an unmysterious but taut mystery that begins when the body of construction tycoon Cass Boulding turns up in the truck belonging to Dan Falconer, sometime investigator. Knowing the ease of frame-ups in Phoenix, Dan stashes the body in a well and attempts to solve the crime before he's convicted of it. And it doesn't take long before he learns that Boulding was about to flatten the Phoenix nuclear economy by publishing the lowdown on nuclear-waste dangers (on microfilm, which Dan has to retrieve from that well). Little doubt about the bad guys right from the start, but first-novelist Gage more than compensates with an unmannered rope-tug style, some chilling violence (like a sliced-off ear), and the relatively fresh milieu of Arizona as it's being ""Californicated.