Mason Greenleaf, Cindy Dorn's bisexual lover, isn't just missing; within a week of taking the assignment to look for him, Harry Stoner finds that he's dead, an apparent pills-and-booze suicide after a tense confrontation with two unidentified strangers in a local gay bar. The police close the case without shedding a tear; they'd already had enough of Mace when he was arrested for molesting Paul Grandin, the student who cost him his teaching job six years earlier. But Cindy and Harry can't let go, especially when they find out that Mace had seen Paul again only a few days before he died. Looking for Paul under every rock between Cincinnati and Columbus, Harry finally runs him to earth in a nursing home--but not before he runs down the tear-stained saga of the kid's hopeless family, his mutually manipulative contacts in the local gay community, and the inevitable streak of AIDS tying him to Mace like a poisonous vine. Before he's done, Harry (The Music Lovers, 1993, etc.) will learn more than he ever wanted to know about the sorry past that kept Mace from walking away from haunted Paul--and sealed his own sad fate. An unforgettable gallery of human monsters with human faces, presented by the legitimate heir to Ross Macdonald.