How does Chicago shamus Paul Whelan survive on all that pro bono work? This time he's getting only $500--two days' pay--from Evangeline Pritchett to find Tony Blanchard, the white street kid who used to live with her. And he's going to earn every penny of his tiny fee, because Tony's not easy to find--nobody who ever knew him is saying anything about where he is--and because Tony's friends have been dying young. Whelan's surprised to discover that one of those dead pals is the brother of his sorely missed old friend Mickey Byrne, but he's astonished to see Mickey walking the Uptown streets as if he weren't even dead. Has Tony been cut down by the same grim reaper who took his buddies and left Mickey in return? What's become of the group's leader, the missing Jimmy Lee Hayes? And can Whelan, who's already shamefully neglecting his put-upon social-worker lover Sandy McAuliffe, follow the trail to Tony before the last of his leads is history? Despite the monumental body count, the prevailing tone of Whelan's fourth tour of Chicago's darkest side (The Maxwell Street Blues, 1994, etc.) is sadness. Whelan, who must be the most sensitive p.i. in the business, needs a good therapist--or a month in Tahiti.