Can Raven, Bringer of Curses, whose battle cry is “Chaos forever,”outfight small-town p.i. Sonny Baca? In your dreams. Which is where most of the action in this weird blend of crime and fantasy fiction takes place. The thing is, Raven (Amaya’s devil figure) and Sonny (his angel) have wrestled before (Rio Grande Fall, 1996, etc.), with the devil taking the hindmost. But this time, Raven feels sure he has the edge: he knows how to get into Sonny’s dreams—and Sonny isn’t savvy enough yet to invade his. That’s important, because it means Raven can wipe out Sonny’s female forebears, starting with Owl Woman, daughter of a shaman, who lived circa 1598. The strategic point here is that by canceling their existence, he fixes it so that Sonny was never born! In between dream battle-scenes (in which the likes of Billy the Kid and Pancho Villa sometimes take a hand), Raven and Sonny have waking confrontations. Sonny, still wheelchair-bound as the result of Raven’s malevolence in a previous novel, is often bested here. But he’s recovering his health. And with the help of wise old Don Eliseo, his mentor, he’s sharpening up his dream-crashing techniques, so that he can meet Raven on equal terms and knock the feathers off him. With Sonny Baca we’re light-years from the wisecracking, hard-boiled, noir-drenched p.i.’s who walked the mean streets when the genre was young. Sam Spade may be turning over in his dreams.