Michigan p.i. Jack Bodine, back from last year's stellar Worse Than Death, follows his cancer-stricken partner Ed Quinn to Washington to help him die with dignity--although the human closing costs of Ed's life will be astronomical. With the help of two black men, Ed's checked himself out of a Lansing hospital and run to a seedy motel, where his companions will shoot him full of painkilling heroin in return for a codicil leaving his assets to ""that Kinfolk outfit."" Shortly after Ed's lawyer Harry Gibbs, who's also followed him to D.C., warns Ed that his property includes something more valuable than he knows, Harry's dead and Ed's vanished. His trail leads Jack to the heads of Kinfolk Realtors, the Kinney family--alcoholic patriarch Douglas, swaggering Craig, cautious Nick, and rabbitty Tim (who sneaked off to Michigan to work incognito as Ed's gofer)--and their reflective minions, the Mapes family--matriarch Serena, hotel-manager son Othman, and Othman's daughter Wilma and his cop-sons Roland and Jerome. After hooking up all the principals--Doug Kinney is Ed's stepbrother, Roland and Jerome his traveling companions, old Mrs. Mapes the tenant of a house he owns in Georgetown--Bunn spins out a murder-swindle-police-coverup plot with as many layers as an onion, and as strong a smell, each new answer leading to even nastier questions until the inevitable grim conclusion. Smart, compassionate Jack is the ideal detective, friend, and (via telephone) father in a humane, densely plotted case that's even better than Worse Than Death.