Dangerous obsessions grip an undercover cop and his family.
Bored Chicagoan Leslie McHugh is surprised to get a visit from Niko, the black-sheep boyfriend of her teenage daughter Ivy, at the flower shop where she works. When he buys a bouquet and leaves one flower on Leslie’s windshield, she considers it a sweet gesture. Leslie’s been feeling increasingly distant from her detective husband Craig. Working undercover in Moy’s gambling den in the back of a Chinese restaurant, Craig has lost all perspective. On the trail of bigger Chinatown criminals, he’s started spending his own money. A police raid jeopardizes his assignment. Finding a woman’s phone number in Craig’s pants pocket, Leslie jumps to a logical but incorrect conclusion. Meanwhile, Ivy is caught with several tabs of Ecstasy by two cops who bring her home. That same night, an old cop buddy of Craig’s is killed, and Leslie decides to wait to tell him about Ivy. All three family members sink deeper into trouble. Craig rushes back to his assignment, even as possible exposure looms. Ivy continues her downward spiral. Leslie’s visit to watch Niko’s band play ends in a confrontation with one of the criminals Craig is pursuing.
In her third novel, Schwegel (Probable Cause, 2007, etc.) ventures away from genre conventions, offering a hybrid with believably complex characters and an effective sense of perilous unpredictability.