When Raymundo Cruz realizes that he can never provide even minimally for his family, he decides to rob a bank with a squirt gun. The attempt fails and the little man suffers an impersonal death surrounded by a jeering mob. His three sons are left in the care of their slatternly mother--but not for long, for the children's court puts them in the custody of the Sacred Home for Fallen Angels upstate. Here the ghost of Raymundo hovers over them, directly communicating with eldest Victor and offering advice for their survival. Before he is 12, Victor steals and wrecks two cars, makes threats to his teachers and indulges in arson, but his father's advice always sees him through. The boys' later attempts at crime are as hilarious as the parade of characters that crosses their paths. This first novel by an experienced short story writer is fast moving and never boring.