When detective-turned-novelist-turned-professor Lewis Griffin teaches Ulysses--``In the Nighttown sequence all these characters and relationships--real, mythic, imaginary--reappear, maybe resurface is the best way to put it, in various transfigurations''--you just know he's talking about the novel he's swimming through himself. Sure enough, the case that begins when the class concludes--Lew's search for pre-law student Sam Delany's teenaged half-brother Shon--is just one more version of the Eternal Return that began when Lew went to University Hospital to identify an accident victim the staff thought might be his son David (he was carrying a copy of The Old Man, one of Lew's novels inscribed to David). But the victim, when he comes around, says he's not David; his name is Lewis Griffin, and The Old Man is one of his own novels. When confronted by a man who doubles as both his son and himself, it's no wonder that Lew, who's never met a memory he didn't grieve over or mourned a friend who didn't burn more darkly than ever in his heart, turns Shon into a surrogate son and his quest into one more search for himself. The search will be at once conclusive and anticlimactic; it's the descent into himself--as he grapples with a gang of muggers turning his New Orleans neighbors into vigilantes and his inability to give more than lip service to his teaching duties- -that's the real story here. Even more than Lew's first three adventures (Black Hornet, 1994, etc.), this one is an anthology of great scenes, great images, and great dialogue. Followers of Lew will know better than to expect as strong a sense of closure as the average detective story provides.