A sardonic shamus helps a lady in distress clear the name of her shady boyfriend.
Hank Ryan is waiting—along with $5 million—in an armored truck at Pier 39 for Lou, his partner in crime, when Lou appears behind the wheel of a UPS truck and rams Hank into San Francisco Bay. Police find the vehicle in the bay but not Hank or the cash. Friendly cop Vincent Mango tips off private detective Cape Weathers (Greasing the Piñata, 2008, etc.) that Hank’s girlfriend, Vera Young, insists he’s innocent of stealing the money. Convinced of her sincerity though not uncritically accepting her claim, Cape agrees to help her. Unbeknownst to Cape, Sergey, a creepy ice pick–wielding Russian, and Eva, his lollipop-loving kid sister, are waiting not so patiently outside one of Lou's hideouts as Lou, alive and well, plots with his creepy associate Cragg. As these subplots unfold, Cape follows a suspicious character he dubs the Flannel Man, whom he spots accepting a wad of cash at a doughnut stand near the pier. Fortunately, Cape has an invaluable sidekick in Sally, an assassin trained in the martial arts by a triad in Hong Kong. Also in the mix: a murderous doctor, introduced in the murky prologue, who pops up again as the plot thickens; Anastasia, Sergey’s domineering older sister; and Oscar, an 800-pound octopus. The doctor turns out to be a mad scientist of the first order. Don’t even ask about the octopus.
Maleeny moves his colorful cast around with giddy panache. His detective's fourth caper is a Hiaasen-esque delight.