A shamus, a drug enforcer, and a pesky reporter clear away the corpses littering the route between Tucson and Nogales.
The first murder, a Juan Doe, occurred during a Duke-Arizona basketball game riot when the victim was in Tucson to spin a tale of Mexican “oppression and murder” for wire-service reporter April Lennox. When April traced one of his family members to Nogales, she became the second victim. Roscoe Brinker, a shamus as old-fashioned as Lew Archer, is upset with himself for refusing to accompany April to Mexico. So he leans on Vicente, the massive drug dealer who saved his life (Lovers Crossing, 2002), for muscle and on his youthful crush Gabi, an LA investigative reporter, for background. Tailed, seduced, and beaten up, the trio connects April and Doe’s deaths to ten others, all involving the Nogales-based, American-owned factories of Armistadt Enterprises, whose board of directors includes April’s wealthy dad. Were Doe, his slain girlfriend Alma, and muckraking April about to expose illegal shenanigans at Armistadt? Though suspicion falls on April’s abusive lover Dickie, as well as on her dad and a crack-the-whip plant manager, it takes a communiqué from New Delhi to pinpoint the true source of corruption and highlight the dangers of outsourcing.
The serviceable plot, culled from today’s headlines, is made memorable by Brinker, who sleeps just fine despite his interesting notions of fair play. Some actor bucking for superstardom should snap this one up.