Their job is to bring back the goods bought but not paid for by San Francisco's deadbeats. But the repo men of Daniel Kearny Associates have their own problems. Boss man Dan Kearny has been bounced by his wife. Bart Heslip is wearing leather in the Tenderloin, and Ballard has finally met a woman who's his match.
Just when things couldn't get tougher, four DKA cases come together - with a bang. Shotguns, politics and a multimillion-dollar brawl between two high-tech wizards open up bad blood on the streets, exposing a plot to punch DKA's ticket for good.
Every superlative thrown at Gores's previous DKA outing, 32 Cadillacs, applies here too, as Gores moves closer to setting up a subgenre all his own: the multilayered, serio-comic repo/skip-tracing procedural. As usual at the end of the month, San Francisco's Dan Kearny Associates is clearing the decks, closing up the tougher repo cases and generally taking a more liberal attitude toward the acquiring of paying gigs. Dan himself is sleeping on a colleague's couch after a dispute with his long-suffering wife. DKA operatives are cruising the boonies, seizing truck tires, a heavy metal band's equipment and a tired old bluesman's few possessions. The DKA office cleaner is singing the blues in a Tenderloin bar, where another operative is bartending incognito. A computer nerd with a Bogart fixation is about to get very wealthy, and his well-preserved mother and ditzy wife are tossing come-hither looks at more than one DK associate. If there's a central plot here, it would involve a near-dead cyclist, a labor dispute with hotel workers and two dead guys, one a labor leader and the other a powerful politician. Gores loads his tale to the bursting point, keeping it all together with bouts of scabrous humor, odd moments of tenderness and virtuoso narrative juggling. After allowing his trusting readers to meander through a series of minor movements, Gores jerks in the reins and dashes for the finish, a crafty collision of weird people that brings the main gambit into crystalline focus.