Even before he leaves for the Philippines to look into the supposed death of Carlito Sanchez, insurance-investigator Jack Hart is half in love with a photo of Lito's cousin Evangeline Flores. And no sooner does he track her to a backwoods barrio than he begins to act like a fool with her. In addition to coping with rural Philippine culture and Vangie's demure reserve, though, Jack has to deal with more predictable obstacles: somebody's killed the partner who preceded him; an anonymous tipster keeps feeding him information about four vanished prostitutes; and the countryside is honeycombed with communist rebels battling the sugar planters' private armies--the two factions killing most of Jack's contacts in the crossfire. The action scenes are so-so, and too many felonies are pinned on the usual suspects--but Finch (Trespass, 1987, etc.) provides a razor- sharp Philippine setting and a splendidly laconic voice for his disillusioned, desperately hopeful hero.