Jimmy "Royal" Payne is a small time lawyer with a tortured past. He was charged with contempt of court but is evading the charges and needs to leave town immediately. As he prepares to leave, he crosses paths with Tino Perez, a 12 year old Mexican with no papers and lots of energy to spare. Tino and his mother got separated while crossing the border illegally. Tino first robs Payne and then asks him to help him find his missing mother.
Payne, with Tino in tow, goes to his ex-wife whom he still loves for help. She gives him an ultimatum; either help the kid or go to jail.
What follows is a cross-border tale of corruption, greed and betrayal. Tino's mother has been 'taken' by the man whom she paid to get her across the US/Mexican border. She is first brought to a stash house and sent to work in a slaughter house. After she assaults the man attempting to rape her, she then finds herself in the clutches of Simeon Rutledge, a big time fruit grower. Illegal immigration is just a way to keep the grower's costs down.
Tino and Payne follow her trail and get involved with coyotes, predators, vigilantes, sex slavers and human traffickers.
I found the police actions in this book to be improbable. A policeman lets Payne escape perjury charges and later Tino gets the better of an Arizona cop. However, the story is so interesting, it really doesn't matter. The reader gets involved in the story and has to turn the next page and the next and the next to keep on going. A great fast-paced mystery!!
First Line: "Judge Rollins drew a handgun from beneath his black robes, pointed the snub-nosed barrel at Jimmy Payne's chest, and said,"Who you pimping for, you low-life shyster?""