Harry Stoner is a private eye in the classic tradition: A loner with a history of failed relationships with women and all-too-successful relationships with bottles of scotch, he's unable to look away from the world's corruption, and unable to avoid trying futilely to do something about it. His latest hopeless cause is Cindy Ann, a teenage hooker. She's not very pretty or bright or engaging...she doesn't have much to offer at all, in fact, and somehow that makes her disappearance all the more disturbing for Stoner who knows what can happen to girls that nobody wants. And he's got a sick hunch that it happened to Cindy Ann, right across the Cincinnati border. Stoner's hunches are almost always on the money, and they rarely feature happy endings. But while the story may be ugly, in Valin's hands it has the brutal grace of a world-class boxing match.