Carlton William Elbridge was worth $17 million when he died at 25, too young and too rich. But that’s the way it can go when you’re “the premier gangsta rappa in all the land”—beloved to the point of idiolatry by young people from coast to coast. So why would Carlton, known professionally as C.E. Digga Jones, go and shoot himself? That’s the question Benny Elbridge, the boy’s father, puts to L.A. gumshoe Aaron Gunner in the process of trying to hire him. He wants Gunner to find his son’s killer, a gig Gunner has very little interest in since—along with the LAPD, the boy’s wife, his mother, his known associates, and most of the rap music industry—he thinks the Digga turned out to be his own worst enemy. The scene of the crime, after all, was a room securely locked from the inside—complete with a suicide note neatly left alongside the corpse. But the old man is persuasive. Having signed on, Gunner discovers soon enough that the beloved rapper did indeed have enemies, determined, bitter, and reflexively violent. Moreover, his closet has more than its share of skeletons. As Gunner digs ever deeper into the Digga, he comes to understand that a secret, if it’s dark enough, can be as lethal as a Glock nine. In his sixth outing (When Last Seen Alive, 1997, etc.), Gunner remains no more than a serviceable sleuth. It’s the African-American backgrounds that get the sharpest treatment.