Fresh from his Edgar-winning Black Cherry Blues, Cajun policeman-avenger Dave Robicheaux goes after an escaped murderer and finds himself taking DEA money as the bagman in a cocaine sting, The murderer is Jimmie Lee Boggs, whose escape from custody left Dave's partner dead and Dave wounded, but alive, only because fellow-escapee Tee Beau Latolais just pretended to pull the trigger. Resolving to nail Boggs and get Tee Beau's murder conviction reexamined, Dave succumbs to DEA stalwart Minos Dautrieve, who uses Boggs's appearance in New Orleans as bait to bounce Dave from the New Iberia police force once more and hustle him down to the Delta. Here his part in the sting against druglord Tony Cardo will be complicated by his trademark divided loyalties and volcanic feelings--toward Boots Giacano, the sweetheart he loved and abandoned as a teen-ager; fiery Kim Dollinger, Cardo's current female, who comes on to Dave anyway; and charismatic, Vietnam-haunted Tony himself. Despite Tony's dangerous intensity--convinced that Dave's "one all-together, copacetic motherfucker," Tony opens up to Dave by getting him out of bed to play Russian roulette and confessing his unending nightmares about the war (nightmares that vividly echo Dave's own)--Dave takes to him and his crippled son Paul much more deeply than to no-good guys like bullying, treacherous Vice Lt. Nate Baxter, who threatens to blow Dave's cover if he doesn't play the game his way. Multiple betrayals force Dave to choose between Boots and Kim, between bagging and protecting Tony, between playing by the rules and going all out for Boggs. Another robust study of powerfully shifting motives disguised as an action yarn--thick and strong as southern gumbo.