Gallard Burke is a drifter and piano player. He’s currently working in Mexico at the La Mujer Robada nightclub. The name means Stolen Woman. The owner’s wife Gretchen does the books. She also does Burke while hubby Frank is away.
One night he goes to see her and is passed by a stranger at the outside entrance. He shrugs it off and goes up to see her. She’s ready for him. For no reason he can figure out, a gun is on a table. He likes guns and takes this one into the bedroom. After tiring themselves out they nod off. Who’s that coming in the door carrying a package ? Yes, it’s Frank. Is he reaching for a gun? Burke doesn’t wait and shoots him. Turns out he was just reaching for a pair of gloves.
He and Gretchen try and hide the body in the bedroom. Burke goes outside and runs into police Lt. Jesus David. He sees what happened and takes Burke, not to arrest him, but to blackmail him into taking Frank’s dropped package across the border.
After dropping off to a crop duster pilot what he realizes is heroin, he goes back to his hotel and heads for the pool. He spots a man helping himself to his cigarettes. Turns out it’s a cop named Feeney. He knows all about the murder rap and forces Burke to help him nail Mexican drug kingin El Uno.
The only good thing that happens to him is the comley Socorra. She was in the club the night before giving him the eye. She pulls a trick to get to meet him.
The book takes a turn after Burke sees an old beer bottle. This is a must read for fans of quality noir. The drug kingpin character Silver Magolnick is also mentioned in Miller’s “Devil May Care.” The books are not related. Wade and Miller never disappoint and this is one of their best. If you see it or any other of their novels at the local used book store, grab them.