The author, a veteran staff writer for the Los Angeles Times, blocks out with practiced ease the countdown drama of his frantic week-long search for the natural parents of his wife Jody, who faces emergency brain surgery. A genetic history will aid in prognosis, but the crisis is more than medical: at this time more than ever Jody needs the assurance of knowing her real identity, a deficit which has haunted her marriage. Jody's adoptive parents are dead, but Hulse begins the search in Fort Wayne, Indiana, were she was born. Even with the aid of a sympathetic judge, all avenues of information lead to blind alleys until an obscure number on a birth certificate provides the breakthrough. Hulse locates Jody's then-frightened mother (""I didn't want to give her away,"" she sobs) and after Jody's successful operation--her twin brother, who also survived a tense and miserable childhood. Hulse is of the washboard school of journalism which raps away on surface sentiment, but one would need a heart of galvanized iron not to be touched by the tears and reunions, and the glimpses of two children of hard times and hard luck.