A former addict’s search for a friend’s missing daughter uncovers what appears to be corruption with roots in the local police force.
Thanks to the help of his mentor and informal sponsor, Eduardo "Gato" Calderon, Mark Mallen’s life isn’t the mess it once was. Mallen was a cop with a bright future until he went too deep undercover and the needle he was sticking in his arm wasn’t just for show. Kicked off the force and out of the lives of his wife, Chris, and their young daughter, Anna, Mallen is working hard to stay clean and out of trouble. But trouble seems to know where he lives, and he keeps getting wrapped up in police business (Untold Damage, 2013, etc.). This time, trouble finds him in the form of San Francisco Detective Gwen Saunders. She knows Mallen’s got the connections to the criminal world, especially in the Tenderloin, that she needs to solve her latest case. Mallen would love to say no—he doesn’t owe her anything—but the case involves a missing kid whose mother is a fellow addict. As Mallen tries to figure out what happened to Jessie, he uncovers what looks like something much bigger, something that might indicate an overlap of criminals and officers—though hopefully not Oberon, the landlord who doubles as his police contact. Can he trust Oberon to help him uncover the seedy side of the SFPD, or has Mallen asked one favor too many?
Even though Mallen and company sometimes come off as noir types rather than recognizable people, the plot Lewis unfolds allows him to develop his characters more deeply this time out.