Eighteen-year-old Phil Martinson and his friend Bimbo Barnes turn detective when a wall at a local construction site collapses, killing a workman and implicating Phil's father, the city engineer, in a graft scandal. Mr. Martinson, we discover, is an honest but undynamic civil servant, and the dupe of a corrupt administration bossed by someone known as ""King Rooster."" After Martinson suffers a severe physical and emotional breakdown, Phil and Bimbo track down the evidence and the identity of King Rooster, and all the loose ends connect in a gun-slinging surprise finish. Although the characters are not very complex and the father-son relationship awkward, in this story the plot is the thing, and only an experienced mystery reader could guess the end. A book to fill the gap between children's thrillers and James Bond.