Neck-deep in a sea of troubles, p.i. Moe Prager gets a phone call—unexpected and at first unwanted—that could bail him out or shove him under. It’s from a nursing nun, informing Moe of the imminent death of a man he’s never heard of. But in his possession Tyrone Bryson has a certain magazine clipping that sends Moe hurtling back into a case 20 years old. When college student Patrick Maloney suddenly vanished in the summer of 1977, Moe had just torn up a knee and been pensioned off by the NYPD. Unemployed and hating it, he’d accepted the proposition of Frank Maloney, Patrick’s politically connected father: Find my son, and it’ll be worth your while in dollars and favors. Moe signed on, of course, but it was a decision with fateful consequences. On the bright side, it brought him Katy, the beautiful Maloney daughter who eventually became his wife. On the dark and dismal side, it sucked him into a vortex of secrets and lies, betrayals and corruption, involving some people he’d once thought of as incorruptible. Hurrying to the hospital back in the present tense, he’s convinced that Tyrone Bryson can unlock the mystery of Patrick Maloney’s disappearance—if only Moe can outrace death.
Much ado about the missing Maloney, a character too shadowy to warrant the attention. Coleman (They Don’t Play Stickball in Milwaukee, 1997, etc.) has done better work.