When knife-wielding street punks warn private investigator Malachy Foley against "bein' even close to happy," the message isn't about Mal's state of mind. Harriet "Happy" Mallory, a high-powered Chicago attorney with political ambitions, has just hired Mal to find her son, placed for adoption thirty-one years ago. Seems there's more here than just the late-blooming maternal interest Harriet claims. Mal, fast on his feet and more quick-witted than prudent, follows the trail to a gentle woman headed home from prison, a beautiful woman headed nowhere but the grave, and then to Harriet's boy - trapped in a maelstrom of vengeance and death. Bad cops, tarnished priests, and Scripture-quoting killers stalk Chicago's mean streets together. He ought to take time to salvage his own failing marriage, or maybe stick to playing barroom piano, but Mal presses forward into the center of a strange and violent vendetta. With a furious pace and meticulous plotting, David J. Walker gives us characters we care about and a vivid portrait of love gone wrong in this unusually accomplished debut mystery.