When Michael Vanderveer goes missing in San Francisco, Private Investigator Noah Lang assumes it’s just another runaway escaping to the Haight, San Francisco’s home to the displaced… until the homicide cops pay him a visit. Fifteen-year-old Michael has been implicated in the murder of a prostitute, and the police don’t want Lang mucking up their investigation — especially Inspector Stern, who has strong opinions about Lang’s questionable past. But Lang becomes inextricably involved when he is hired by Michael’s parents: Michael is being ransomed, and they want Lang to ensure the exchange goes smoothly.
As everyone waits for the kidnappers to make their next move, Lang struggles with the Vandeveers’, impatient with waiting and far from their Michigan home; with the twisted, confusing details of the case; with the moral implications of rescuing Michael, only to have to turn him in for murder; and with Stern, who’s increasingly volatile behavior may just put Lang’s life in as grave danger as Michael’s.
Ronald Tierney was editor of a San Francisco monthly and founding editor of an alternative weekly. Born in Indianapolis, Tierney attended Indiana University in Bloomington. He lives in San Francisco now, where he is working on several fiction projects.