Charlie Bradshaw, 41, not a very noticeable man--a policeman for the Youth Relations Bureau by profession--leaves Saratoga after umpteen dullish, childless years with his wife to go and look for Sam Cheney, the son of his 10th grade girl. After all Sam might have been his--he'd like to think so anyway--although Sam and his friend Peter remain firmly missing, in spite of the efforts of a Lt. Zack of the Narcotics Bureau. Sam has a long record extending from day to day into cocaine; Peter becomes only a statistic after his body is found decomposed in New Jersey; and there's still Stacy, Sam's gift, Stacy who tries to seduce him, Stacy whom he wouldn't mind seducing, Stacy who's really setting him up. Dobyns, a poet, also author of an earlier novel, is a nice enough writer but his story's something of a slow track on an autumn day. You'll just have to count on Sam, with his dreams of glory of an older West and an ""imagination like Shirley Temple"" to even the odds. And Charlie, an Art Carney character with a certain shambling knowingness and gentleness and dignity--he's really the book.