A haunted buccaneer of the Los Angeles bar tackles the job of saving an illegal Mexican boy whose life is even more troubled than his own.
There’s been no good news for J. Atticus Payne in the year since his son was killed in a car accident. His marriage to a Consumer Frauds detective has gone south; he’s violated a court order in his effort to protect a client’s abused daughter; and now he’s been forced to deliver a bribe for the Public Integrity Squad, who want to trap Judge Walter Rollins in a sting. When His Honor shoots himself with the cops outside his door, everybody turns against Jimmy Payne, and he takes it on the lam. His unlikely traveling companion is 12-year-old Agustino Perez, who got separated from his mother while they were crossing over from Mexico and is determined to track down the coyote who promised to reunite them. Only a few felonies later, Jimmy and Tino are talking to El Tigre, but it’s already too late. Marisol Perez has passed from his hands to those of retired madam Wanda the Whale, trigger-happy Dickie Chitwood and, ultimately, Simeon Rutledge, the mega-rancher who’s taken a fatal fancy to her gypsy eyes and plans to make her his own on whatever terms his minions can arrange.
Proficient man-on-the-run action notable mainly for some extra surprises that Levine (9 Scorpions, 1998, etc.) squeezes off in the last innings.