Boston p.i. Matt Jacob seemed too self-intoxicated by drugs, liquor, painful memories, and the world's thinnest skin for his first case (Still Among the Living, 1990)--but this time Klein has shrewdly given him a case that trades on his self-absorption by taking him back 20 years to his stint in a ghetto called The End. There, his former social-work client Blackhead Porter wants him to reopen the old case of Peter Knight's drowning shortly after Matt's first wife led him out of the neighborhood and his own idealism. Though Blackhead pulls an about-face within a day and demands that Matt stay out of The End, it's too late--Matt's already become fixated on Peter's sister Melanie, community activist Jonathan Barrie, and whoever tried to part Matt's hair with a truck. Before the police finally arrive, Matt will have followed a trail of drugs, sex, and another murder to more secrets about The End and himself than he ever wanted to know. The return of Matt's whole entourage--sometime lover Boots, irascible father-in-law Lou, wacko tenants, Bakelite radios-- guarantees pleasure for fans of Klein's first; but the tighter plotting, which gives Matt an excuse to be Matt, is the real payoff.