Last seen in Final Notice (1973), the San Francisco folks at Daniel Kearny Associates--private eyes who do tacky stuff like repossessing cars and collecting debts--are now in big trouble. Misguided California authorities are after their license, alleging an ""irregular collection transaction"" a year ago, so the canny Kearny field guys have to go searching for witnesses (former employees mostly) to back up their version of that transaction. Special attention is paid to black Bart Heslip, who tracks Verna Rounds, a file clerk turned prostitute-addict, from Frisco to New Orleans to a halfway house in Harlem. This ex-shamus author knows the unglamorous grit and street tricks of real private-eyeing, and his operatives manage to be hard enough to brawl through their jobs and soft enough to make us care about them. With those assets, Gores doesn't even need to tie in a Mob murder alibi--which he does quite convincingly--to keep us turning the pages of this DKA file.