Jimmy Veeder is called by his father who tells him of his cancer and asks him to come home.
Jimmy's home is in Holtville in southern California across from Mexicali. It's a place where "...even the plants have a chip on their shoulders."
The town hasn't changed much in the twelve years since he's been away. Neither has his best friend Bobby Maves. When Jimmy greets Bobby and asks how he's been, Bobby's response, "I live in Holtville. How good could I be?"
Jimmy's father has one dying request, to find a prostitute named Yolanda who lives in Mexico.
In this noir novel, the desert is also a character. Jimmy, Bobby and a boyhood friend, Tomas, work to find Yolanda. Tomas is an underworld figure in Mexico who claims to be an arranger. He helps people cross the border, finds girls for pornographic movies or prostitutes.
Yolanda is found and returns with Jimmy for a last visit with Jack. Later, when Jack dies peacefully, she returns for the service. However something happens and the direction of the story changes. We learn more of Jack's earlier life and see a lonely man looking for happiness. Jimmy has to view this new look at his father to see if that is the kind of person he wants to become.
Jimmy finds an old girlfriend and finds another reason to remain in Holtville, but will he?
I enjoyed this book, the humor, the good character portrayal and the interesting story.