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Jack Liffey, finder of lost kids and lover of troubled women, combines his preoccupations.

While Jack is raking leaves as his daughter Maeve lolls on the grass, a drive-by shooter takes aim, fires and misses him but hits Maeve. Determined to find the gunman, Jack is semi-distracted when his lover Gloria, an LAPD officer wrestling with emotional demons she declines to specify, emerges from her funk long enough to ask him to find her niece Luisa, a beautiful Paiute, who left home determined to hit it big in the adult entertainment industry and hasn’t been heard from since. The shooter, a gangbanger nicknamed Thumb, turns up first, and to his own surprise, Liffey decides not to kill him but to tutor him and set him on more socially acceptable paths. Luisa, more elusive, has been mauled by one lunatic after another, beginning with wannabe porn cineastes Styles and Whipple, then by Keith, a brutalizing pimp, and finally by mega-mobster Levine and his sidekick Trevor Pennycooke, a supersized Jamaican. After many improbable interviews and porn and torture interludes, Liffey reaches Luisa but must outmaneuver a sniper and a raging fire before he can bring her home.

Liffey, whose cases (Terminal Island, 2004, etc.) have always veered toward West Coast noir, now seems entrenched in the meanest California streets. This one is rated NC-17 for graphic porn and torture sequences, along with procedures for emptying a colostomy bag.

Pub Date: June 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-7867-1543-X
Page count: 256pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 2005


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