'A fantastic road trip...wild, wicked, sweet, painful, courageous, outrageous, and obscene' New York Times
Never the most conventional of private detectives, C. W. Sughrue is called in to solve a far from traditional missing persons case. A beautiful woman has vanished, and Sughrue is set to be the next in a long line of people who have tried to find her: the FBI, her well-connected Republican husband, and – most worryingly – a group of South American drug dealers. And his only clue is a hollowed-out sculpture of a duck.
From Montana to the Mexican border, Sughrue embarks on a wild ride, as he finds himself in and out of trouble – and the beds of one or two women. And, as he runs from his memories of Vietnam, he ponders the meaning of loyalty and revenge. This is a journey like no other from the pen of James Crumley, the master of a generation of crime writers.
While the often furious action of Crumley's latest mystery takes place in the West, from Montana to the Tex-Mex border, the novel's heart beats in wartime Vietnam. There private eye C. W. Sughrue (first met in The Last Good Kiss ) and most of Crumley's memorable cast spent their formative years, learning about arms, reconnaissance and dope, and forging the relationships that hold them together or, in this tale that turns on betrayals, tear them apart as effectively as an AK-47. In Meriwether, Mont., Sughrue is hired to conduct a private search for Sarita Cisneros Pines, the missing Mexican wife of a slick Texas politician. Sughrue quickly runs up against the FBI, opposing bands of Mexican outlaws and some smooth American bad guys. As the bodies fall in increasing numbers, Sughrue falls, too--into bed with various women and in love with one or two; he enlists the help of other vets, including an ex-intelligence officer who is now a lawyer famous for defending drug lords. Sustained by booze and cocaine, driven by loyalty and revenge, Sughrue and his company gradually unravel the threads of sex, drugs, oil-interests and politics that lead to a final paramilitary campaign with a high body count. The occasional melodramatic note doesn't trip up the juggernaut action or knock Crumley's hard-guy prose off key. 50,000 first printing; author tour.