While tracking a remorseless kidnapper, a Korean-American shamus conducts a parallel and equally dangerous investigation into himself.
Two years earlier, as a reporter for the San Jose Sentinel, Linda Maldonado had helped Allen Choice (Underkill, 2003, etc.) solve a difficult case and survive an emotional low point. The two had become lovers until Linda abruptly ended the affair. Now she’s in Oakland because she wants to hire B&C, Allen’s firm, to recover her sister’s child, nine-year-old Nora, kidnapped in the wake of an ugly divorce. Frank Staunton, the child’s father, is a singularly nasty piece of work whose hatred for his wife is implacable. He’s taken Nora and performed a vanishing act expert enough to baffle the police and the FBI. Fully sympathetic, Allen nevertheless views the assignment with misgivings. To begin with, he’s not quite sure how he feels about Linda, though he’s absolutely certain how Serena Yew, his current girlfriend, will react to the prospect of further involvement. Moreover, he fears that Frank and his stone-killer brother represent an entanglement he’d be better off without. But Allen has an affinity for risk that frequently earns him insights along with bruises: manna to a man incapable of leading the unexamined life.
Choice—intuitive, two-fisted, sometimes melancholic, often confused and funny despite himself—drives a breakout novel not to be missed.