Fifteen-year-old Teri Hewitt has been left holding the babies since her dad disappeared without trace. She wants LA private eye Elvis Cole to find him, and although he knows he should refuse and hand it over to social services, he finds himself taking on the case.
The search reveals a chronically unemployed drug addict caught up in counterfeiting scams and mixed up with the Russian mafia and Vietnamese gunmen. As the action heads towards a gunfight in Disneyland and Cole dodges his almost-girlfriend's ex-husband, he realises Teri is one whole lot of trouble he should have left to the professionals.
At the end of this wild ride, Vietnamese revolutionaries, Russian assassins and federal operatives are all part of a tense face-off. Not surprisingly, wisecracking L.A. shamus Elvis Cole is stuck right in the middle of things. At the start, Elvis is approached by three resourceful young children who would like their missing father located. That dad, Clark Hewitt, is soon revealed as a mystery man, a master printer and a possible junkie who fled the witness protection program he entered after informing on a counterfeiting operation run by Russian and Ukrainian mobsters. While Clark's kids clearly revere him, Elvis is suspicious. The feds want Clark back in their care and the Russians want revenge for his squealing. The final wrinkle comes in the shape of a Vietnamese family who want Clark to run off a stack of phony dong to wreak havoc on their country's economy. Elvis wants his lady love, Lucy, to move to L.A., but her possessive ex-husband has other ideas. Lurking under the trademark slick patter is a plot that gradually achieves a persuasive momentum. The taciturn Joe Pike, co-owner with Elvis of their detective agency, helps Elvis come up with a wild gambit that might make everyone happy, with the possible exception of the trigger-happy Russians. Never forgetting that wall-to-wall cuteness can't carry a novel unaided, Crais (Lullaby Town; Sunset Express) provides sympathetic and believable kids, a flawed father figure and a bunch of Vietnamese heavies with a softer side--all of whom rocket along until they interlock smoothly at the big finish.