Things aren't going well for the tough private eyes of San Francisco-based Dan Kearny Associates. Marriages are falling apart, associates are going to jail, and dowagers are demanding sexual favors. Before long, DKA's cases begin to turn up murder and mayhem, bodies and blood, all engineered by someone who would like to see a troubled agency rendered null and void.
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. (July)