When Rita Mondragon is shot by the same psychopath who nearly killed her six years earlier, it's a nightmare revisited for both Rita and Joshua Croft, Friend, business partner and lover, As Rita hovers near death , Joshua begins a harrowing cross-country odyssey in search of Ernie Martinez.
Ernie is waiting, just one step ahead, taunting Joshua on a deadly pursuit that takes them from Santa Fe to the Kansas prairies and to the sweltering Everglades. It is a journey both savage and surreal mysterious and enlightening, as past and present merge in a final blood vendetta.
A good read with lots of info for anyone with interest in New Mexico.
Satterthwait grips his readers early, hard and fast as New Mexico PI Joshua Croft (seen before in The Hanged Man) pursues the man who shot his partner and lover, Rita Mondragon. Hours before the shooting, Ernie Martinez had escaped the nearby state penitentiary, where he was serving time for previously shooting Rita and killing her husband years ago, while trying to murder Joshua. Infuriated that police did not warn them, Joshua gives chase on his own while Rita lies comatose in a Santa Fe hospital. The trail is grim. An informant who once turned in Martinez has been shot to death. A troubled bank teller has suddenly abandoned her home to help Martinez and a fellow escapee. Joshua's hasty reaction triggers deadly consequences in Denver, enraging the cops, but a computer nerd there points him toward another lead in Texas. Disbelieving reports that the fleeing felons have died in a fiery road accident near New Orleans, Joshua presses on to south Florida and a bloody showdown. Satterthwait cross-cuts smoothly from present to past, delving in depth into Joshua and Rita's relationship and the origins of the feud with Martinez. Narration and dialogue crackle with smart humor. Joshua gets strong support, especially from a monosyllabic ex-CIA agent who collects Barbie dolls and prowls the Everglades like an alligator, silent and dangerous.