If you've left your criminal past behind for the straight life, what can you do when your desperate best friend needs help finding his missing daughter?
Rat-a-tat narrator Jimmy Veeder doesn't drink or party like he used to. But he still gets involved in the occasional bar fight like the one his old pal Bobby Maves helps extricate him from. Bobby's volatility is just the kind of energy Jimmy needs to steer clear of. Bobby's attitude switches abruptly from devil-may-care to frantic when his longtime girlfriend, Becky, tells him that his teenage daughter, Julie, has gone missing. Jimmy plays uneasy wingman as Bobby tears recklessly through multiple leads. Julie's only friend, according to Facebook, is Angel, an aspiring artist. Her sketches of him adorn her bedroom wall. He turns out to be a gentle soul. His thug brother, Gabe, however, is quite another matter—and he's Julie's real friend. Jimmy tries to keep the armed Bobby in check and provides a sounding board as Bobby realizes his daughter isn't the paragon he thought she was. A twisted trail through miscellaneous hustlers and dealers in Southern California and Northern Mexico leads them to an ominous collection of seemingly abandoned buildings, the Plaster City of the title, in the middle of the Yuha Desert, where it all comes down.
Despite some tendency to ramble, Jimmy's second "fiasco" (Dove Season, 2011) has plenty of grit and pace.