A private eye reluctantly signs on to help a transgender Mexican immigrant look for the daughter she fathered.
Although she resists the case of the missing child, PI Jaymie Zarlin allows herself to be talked into taking it by Gabi Gutierrez, her office manager and sidekick. Gabi clearly feels for the distraught mother, who in this case is also the child’s biological father, Jesus Maria Robledo, known by most as Chucha. The Santa Barbara police are less understanding, and Chucha knows they aren’t going to help her find Rosie, her young daughter. That’s partly because of who Chucha is, partly because of the circumstances of the girl’s disappearance. Rosie was living with her biological mother in Mexico until old friends hinted that she was not being well cared for. Chucha took the only action she could think of, hiring someone to smuggle Rosie over on a panga boat otherwise used to traffic drugs into the United States. When Chucha came to pick up Rosie, the girl was nowhere to be found, and Chucha thinks it possible that someone paid a higher price for her daughter. Street-smart Jaymie, nowhere near as optimistic, is pretty sure that Rosie was disposed of on the journey. Gabi is determined to manage Jaymie, however, even if that means taking on a case Jaymie isn’t sure she wants to solve. With no clues to Rosie’s whereabouts but some dragon fruit on the beach, Jaymie will have to use all her connections to discover the fate of Chucha’s daughter.
Keskinen (Black Current, 2014, etc.) seldom treats her characters with the gravity they merit, thrusting them into strange situations and making weighty decisions about their fates with little warning.