Less than a week after South Jersey shamus Con Leeds returns runaway Bonnie Arnold to her wealthy grandfather, she's dead in a Brooklyn park, victim of what local cops say is a self-administered shot of heroin. But Con can't believe that Bonnie, a pill popper from a classic dysfunctional family (dead alcoholic mom, abusive AIDS-stricken dad), turned from Narcotics Anonymous to the needle, and he gets on the trail of Rocky Starza, the hopped-up bus driver Bonnie had taken up with in Atlantic City, and Raymond Stockton, the criminal lawyer turned criminal biker who Rocky was swinging a major drug deal with. Even after the client calls him off, Con keeps on going, maybe knowing that along the way there'll be romantic interludes with blackjack dealer Grace Somers (a sweetie, though the evening doesn't end well) and Stockton's Princeton daugher Julie (an animal in bed), though Con's best relation with a woman is probably with his motherly, chain-smoking landlady, Thelma Herzog. Sound familiar? Wait till you see the climax, which will have Mickey Spillane consulting a copyright lawyer. But Con is an attractive soft-boiled dick whose untidy, derivative first case may just be a warm-up for better things to come.