One stifling summer night in Longstreet, Mississippi, fourteen-year-old Darrell Clark ran home thinking about two things: the ice cream he couldn't wait to eat and an algorithm he was working on, a way to generate real time fractal terrain on his Macintosh computer. The cops who shot him in the back, mistaking him for a purse snatcher, found the ice cream in the paper bag on the ground next to Darrell. They'd never know anything about computers, or about the events they had just set in motion.
When the predictable cover-up occurs, a group of blacks, led by Marvel Atkins, decide the time for action has come. The city government must go. Through Darrell's computer, Marvel, with the incredible liquid eyes, links up with Kidd, who takes on jobs that may be a little beyond the law. She lays out the objective, but he makes the plan. The mayor, city council, city attorney are all corrupt. The firehouse is the center for drug dealing, and the recreation director skims money like algae from the municipal swimming pool. And then there's Duane Hill, the dogcatcher/enforcer who uses Dobermans to get his way. Kidd will simply find the crack in the machine and work it until the city comes down like a house of Tarot Cards.
Kidd likes the tarot because it forces him outside his preconceptions, makes him test new theories. All he has to do is watch out for the Empress; the tarot says she is trouble. Is it LuEllen, his partner in crime and sometimes in bed? Or Mayor Chenille Dessusdelit, whose ambition is as wide as the Mississippi? Or Marvel herself? -- for as Kidd knows, idealism can be very, very dangerous.