A return to state-of-the-art p.i. writing for Lutz, whose sour-stomach shamus, Alo Nudger (Diamond Eyes, 1990, etc.) finds himself, again, with a lying client--Ozark-bred Norva Beane, who says Dale Rand suckered her in a junk-bond deal. Nudger's bugging reveals that Rand is probably raping his adopted daughter Luanne, and various tails indicate that he's in cahoots with drug king King Chambers. Norva, for some reason, seems more concerned with Luanne's welfare than with Rand's thievery, and along with bulky Bobber Beane, her Possum Run kin, she begins menacing Rand. Then Luanne dies and the hillbilly duo hire Nudger to track her murderer--seems Luanne was the daughter they gave up for adoption years back. Three more will die before Nudger's stomach can settle down again and he and homicide cop Hammersmith can identify all the toe tags in the morgue. Tough, wry (Nudger is dabbling in the stock market--to girlfriend Claudia's disgust), and unsentimental: what fans of the hard-boiled detective story have been yearning for.