Black, Caribbean-born Sam Dean (The Late Candidate, 1990; Blood Rights, 1989), a freelance, London-based journalist, has promised to find his dying friend Hector's daughter Mary--in New York City but long-unheard from--and bring her home. Staying at his brother's apartment in Jamaica, Queens, and touching base with on- off lover Sophie--a photographer on assignment from London--Sam finds that Mary has disappeared after a stint as home aide to an elderly Manhattan couple--the parents of city politico Ben Schumann. Following leads through all the boroughs but Staten Island, with help from compatriots like Oscar Clayburn, who works in the mayor's office, Sam soon realizes than he's not the only one looking for Mary. Schumann and some of his business buddies are tracking her too, wanting to recover something she'd stolen that might reveal the whereabouts of an African big-shot evading the law. With backup from his cousin Bonny's friend Claude, a high- voltage entrepreneur, Sam succeeds in finding Mary, but violent, double-crossing confrontations have just begun, taking Sam halfway across the country before he sees London again. Tension-laden meets, sexual couplings, beatings, and killings, interrupted by Sam's windy flights of introspection and sidelong glances into immigrant life in New York--all make for an overextended story that sags too often despite the heavy action.