The day Louis Baker gets out of jail, down-at-heels former S.F. prosecutor Rusty Ingraham warns bartender-sleuth Dismas Hardy that Baker's out to kill them both-and that night Hardy calls on Ingraham's houseboat to find him vanished, leaving behind a trail of blood and a dead woman. At first the case seems simple, especially after the police shoot Baker down after he's broken into Hardy's ex-wife's place. But Hardy, talking to Baker in the hospital, wonders whether he might be innocent--whether Ingraham's beautiful companion, Maxine Weir, was actually killed by her estranged husband Ray, or by rogue cop Hector Medina, off the force after accusations of killing a suspect and planting a gun on him, or by mob enforcer Johnny LaGuardia (who's in charge of collecting "the rig," the weekly ten percent of principal on debts his boss Angelo Tortoni has advanced to a long list of clients, including Rusty Ingraham)--or whether Ingraham is really dead after all. Remarkably, all the subplots--from a police investigation into an accusation of gay-bashing to Hardy's affair with pregnant widow Frannie Cochran--are kept in perfect focus and proportion until the final, superfluous 50 pages. A tense, satisfyingly complex sequel to Dead Irish (1989).