In this story Donnally's friend Mauricio Aguilera confesses on his deathbed to having lived a lie. His name isn't even his real name. Aguilera tells his good friend that he killed his father when he was a boy because he came home to find his father molesting his little sister. Then he took her to a sort of commune where he felt they would take care of her and not go to the police. He has lived ever since wondering if she is all right and whether the police are looking for him to charge him with murder. He hands Donnally a letter and begs him to deliver it to his sister.
That sets our hero off on a search that leads him into ever more fascinating stories. There is a mentally ill man who was charged with murdering Mauricio's sister. The system has abandoned the man and his life has been hell. The people from the commune also have an interesting story and a sad one. They are also hiding from the world. Then Donnally picks up a thread in his investigation that will lead him to an organization of men who molest boys. Donnally's world is a cruel one. However, the local deputy where he lives is a bumbling fool determined to find evidence against him on anything and that provides a few smiles. We need those light moments, and we also need the closeness Donnally finds with his Vietnamese girlfriend as an escape from the sadness.
Don't let that sadness keep you from reading this excellent mystery though. I was glued to the book and yet didn't want it to end. The varied characters are beautifully drawn and seem real, and Donnally's reasons for every move are realistic though of course heroic. The evil people in this story are truly evil; you'll hate them with a vengeance. Please do read Steven Gore's books.