Rachel Espinoza is missing. And since her adoptive father, Oscar Vargas, is wealthy and stubborn, he hires a smart young detective, Conrad Valdez, to find out what happened to her after she left the condo at Los Cabos that she was sharing with some writer friends. Since Denver attorney Luis Montez is among the last people who talked to Rachel, Rad Valdez hopes Louie will be able to set him on her trail. But Louie, as usual, is up to his writs in problems with his own colorful clientele and circle of friends: the debtor whose most persistent creditor hasn't been stopped by his bankruptcy petition, the literary editor who repairs TVs, the radical poet who's killed in a bookstore bombing, the pint-sized gangster who makes him wonder if Rad is really on the level. The two men warily circle each otherbuying each other drinks and burritos and wondering whether Rachel was really the daughter of legendary, long-vanished writer Oscar Acosta and what happened to the copy of her novel-in-progress that disappeared from Louie's file cabinetas Denver's Globeville neighborhood burns with rumors, threats, gunplay, and the occasional arson fire.
Though the half-dozen plots Ramos juggles never quite come together and the lead villain is obvious from his first entrance, this is still, in the line it walks between violent action and ruminative Chicano history, the best-balanced of Louie's four cases to date (The Last Client of Luis Montez, 1996, etc.).