Jack Hall is the star of a hit TV show filmed in Los Angeles. But his growing fame isn’t enough, and Jack decides to chuck it all to work for a human rights group headed by his sister, Peggy. The group’s work is based in Central America, and Peggy sends her brother to Mexico City to learn Spanish. She asks for help from journalist Hugh Bruce, a long-time Latin America hand. But when Jack arrives, both he and Hugh get far more than they bargained for—and far less than they want.
Settling temporarily in the capital, Jack quickly meets Hugh’s assistant, Maru Campagna. Maru’s family has been shattered by the death of her father, and she’s trying to reinvent herself in ways her mother and uncle disapprove. When she falls into a relationship with Jack, Maru’s family schemes for a quick marriage to a foreigner. But Maru isn’t sure, and Jack has no intention of getting married. He’s off to fight for human rights. At least he will be soon.
Hugh Bruce is both the witness and narrator of Jack’s quixotic quest. He’s also friends with another foreigner who owns a resort in the hot-spring zone north of Mexico City. Wayne Gibbings is a former L.A. restauranteur who moved south for profit, not ideals. But his hotel is failing, located too near a mountainous area where long-time ranchers have found a lucrative new crop, growing marijuana back in the hills while clearing peasant farmers off their land. Rumour speaks of a massacre.
When Jack arrives at the hotel with Maru and Hugh, he finds himself in the middle of a hair-trigger human rights case. Idealistic and unprepared, Jack tries to help—not that anyone asked. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, they say.
Who will Jack take with him?