This powerful and suspenseful debut features an unusual heroine, San Diego Juvenile Court child abuse investigator Bo Bradley. A closet manic-depressive, Bo fights to keep her job and her equilibrium when she is assigned the case of a four-year-old boy found tied to a mattress in an abandoned house on an Indian reservation. She realizes that the boy is deaf, not retarded as she first thought, and hopes to place him with a family who will teach him to sign. But her intuition and her own experience with a deaf sister tells her that the boy had been tied up to prevent him from straying. Could someone have intended to return to him? She finds a grocery receipt, the only clue to the boy's identity. When two men attempt to shoot him and she receives a threatening note, her mission becomes increasingly urgent. Recognizing and resisting the manic phase of her own disorder, she traces the boy's past to Houston and an important political race. Padgett's deft handling of Bo's mental state and her empathetic rendering of his deafness add originality and depth to a gripping story.