Scribner, May 2004, 24.00, 304 pp.
Though family means nothing but heartache, betrayal and trouble to Munch Mancini, she tries to help her adopted daughter Asia come together with her cousins. Still the mechanic and former druggie prostitute wants her child to have everything she did not including a warm caring extended family. Munch even considers a mate so that Asia has the male influence of a father. When the daddy brigade turns up empty, Munch does what she felt was a better choice anyway which is buying Asia a cocker spaniel.
Meanwhile Asia's Aunt Lisa Slokum sends her usual friendly message filled with endearing profanities and orders to call. Lisa's preadolescent daughter Jill is Pollyanna while in contrast the older child Charlotte who is teen Goth. That is until she vanishes after a classmate is murdered and may have some stolen goods with her. Munch's former lover police officer Rico Chacon arrests Lisa leaving it up to Munch to mother Jill as well as Asia and to try to keep the still missing Charlotte safe from nasty killing thugs; not an easy task when you have no idea where she is.
This is as much a character study as a mystery as readers obtain a deep look at Munch, Asia and the latter's extended family. The suspense is more towards whether Rico is the one than the missing child investigation.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner