Two abandoned tykes lead San Francisco detective Ronnie Ventana (Death Notes, 2005, etc.) into a maze of international intrigue.
Even though Analisa Bugatti has made no contact with her for the 15 years since their graduation, Ronnie Ventana’s glad that her high-school friend—whose long dark hair and pearlescent skin stop men mid-sentence—has turned up again. But her joy is short-lived. Halfway through their Chinatown lunch, Analisa heads for the loo and never returns, leaving her infant and toddler at the table. Ronnie doesn’t do kids, but she doesn’t trust Child Protective Services, so she stashes the pair with her cigar-chomping running-mate, ex-fighter Blackie Coogan, while she’s tracking Analisa down. Analisa’s parents think she’s teaching English in Zambia, but outside their house, Ronnie finds Zacario Gonzalez, who drives a Lexus and has ties to the Argentine consulate, engaged in clumsy surveillance. Zacario warns Ronnie that Analisa’s in grave danger, and sure enough, a shady Central American named Graciela Dominguez, who turns up at Ronnie’s demanding “los niños,” is later fished out of the Bay. Eventually, Blackie palms the kids off on his friend Blaze—who lets one get kidnapped but manages to hold on to the other—and joins Ronnie in tracking down leads, including a Latino thug named Johnny Mercedes, a sleazy obstetrician, an immigration lawyer and even a prominent judge.
Concern for those kids dwindles to just about zilch as Ronnie’s investigation chugs along to its obvious conclusion.