Delacorte, May 2004, 23.00
Two FBI agents, Mary Chang and Tom Cochran, work a deal with drug addict Roberto Burns. In exchange for clemency of his felony charges, they will use him as a pawn to gain criminal information on former Mexicali drug dealer Jesus Hidalgo, who relocated to Wyoming after being on the losing end of a vicious gang war in Mexico. Hidalgo plans to establish an illegal drug producing lab in an abandoned mine.
Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation Special Agent Antonio "Ant" Burns has problems with the scenario, but is happy to see his brother go straight being a by the law type. He goes along with the agreement until he realizes that his sibling is in danger. He decides to be the cavalry in order to rescue his brother regardless of what it does to the Feds' case. Though he hopes that climbing the side of a mountain will surprise Hidalgo and his gang of hoods, Ant is soon in the middle of danger too.
The fourth Ant tale (see THE EDGE OF JUSTICE and TRIAL BY ICE AND FIRE) is at its best when the hero and Roberto are mountain climbing. The tale remains strong when the lead character performs soliloquies on why he became a cop and how much he cares for his pregnant girlfriend, Mungo the wolf, the Iron Pig Land Cruiser, and his lunatic brother, the tale hums as readers see inside Ant. When Ant provides discourses on a non-cooperating judge, the FBI and his boss, the tale slows down. Still the side of a cliff is what makes this an exhilarating thriller as the audience will feel they are hanging alongside Ant.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner