Aging gay insurance-investigator Dave Brandstetter comes out of retirement again over the protests of his longtime companion black newscaster Cecil Harris, to find the woman who kidnapped Zacha little boy who says he was grabbed after watching her commit a murder. Zach's wild story turns out to be truethe corpse is no-good rocker Cricket Shales, barely out of jailbut the fugitive, Cricket's former lover Rachel Klein, turns out to be carrying a gun that isn't the murder weapon. Even if she's not the killer, though, she was on the sceneand so were her outraged father Irwin and Jordan Vickers, the counselor who talked her off drugs and into bed. Shuffling suspects and subplots (his stepmother Amanda's Hollywood wedding, his old pal Jack Helmers's tell-all memoirs) with his trademark compassion, Dave pieces together a case running the gamut from child abuse to political fixesall drenched in a pervasive sadness, like late Mahler. Dave's best outing in years; it's a shame Hansen's so emphatic about its being his last.