Two cases for D.C. shamus Nick Stefanos, who's left his job at Nutty Nathan's (A Firing Offense, 1992) to patrol the bar at the Spot. First, his high-school friend Billy Goodrich walks in and asks him to find his wife April, who he says skedaddled with small-time crime boss Joey DiGeordano. Wrong: April actually rode off into the southern Maryland sunset with hog farmer/bondage freak Tommy Crane and, it turns out, with $200,000 of DiGeordano family money. In between boozy car trips with Billy, present and remembered, Nick finds time to reopen the murder of William Henry, his reporter friend killed because he was learning too much about a trio of pizza kings--and to impregnate his lesbian friend Jackie Kahn, who's decided it's time for a baby. Pelecanos's retake on The Long Goodbye requires Nick to shed the snakelike charm he showed in his debut in favor of a more modish lament for things past, and the split between separate cases doesn't make the book any stronger. But there are still some great scenes, great people, and great background music.