When he hears that his father's been shot, Tom Heller, Jr.a true-crime writer like his author (Life for Death, Money to Burn) flies back to America determined to track down Big Tom's killer, only to step into a hornet's nest when he's called into the investigation of another murder he's all too sure is tied to his father's. The latest victimsAndrew Yost and Clay Farinholtare father and son to Elaine Farinholt, whom poor-boy Tom romanced one impossible summer 20 years ago before drop-dead-rich Andrew found out she was pregnant and packed her off to an adoption agency in Texas, where she swore to Tom, when he chased her down, that the baby wasn't his. Now that she's been getting anonymous letters about that baby, she's convinced that he's grown up and killed her family in revengeand Tom's convinced that the mysterious blond man Elaine saw fleeing the murder scene is the same blond man a neighbor saw running from Big Tom's murder. The old lovers strike a brilliantly twisted deal: Tom will sign an affidavit that Elaine was pregnant that summer (all the adoption records having disappeared, the police have naturally zeroed in on her as the #1 suspect) in return for her cooperation in writing a book about the murders (scheming all the time to tie the killings to his father's murder). Meantime, as Clay's pregnant girlfriend Doreen Perry, aided by her strong, stupid brother Darryl and swinish lawyer Curtis Koontz, is pressing a claim on behalf of her unborn child for Andrew's estate, hoping to sweeten the pot by nudging Elaine toward the chair, Tomlying blithely to Elaine, the police, even his trusted brother Buckbegins to wonder who's double-crossing whom. Was there really a baby after all? Was it Tom's? Did Elaine kill Big Tom, and is she trying to seduce Tom to set him up for all three killings? The surprises go off like a giant string of firecrackers, with only the last one a dud. Pulp fiction at its overplotted best.