1978: The wave of gentrification has yet to break over downtown Los Angeles, and vast swathes of the warehouse district lie nearly abandoned next to the city's concrete-clad river. Lenny Strasser, a straight-arrow with a taste for shady places, plunges into that world to discover that sometimes the only distance between two points is a very crooked line. When his friend Dave Larrabee nags him into tracking down a missing girlfriend, Lenny suspects that the girl doesn't want to be found. She had beens his before she was Dave's, and she'd gone gleefully missing from his life one time too many. But this time, she may have fallen, again, into the hands of the charismatic Nighthawk, who could lead her into territories where the danger is real, and Kate's penchant for role-playing no protection from harm. The quest takes them into hobo jungles and punk squats by the LA River--and into an after-midnight darkness of moral ambiguity that changes Lenny's life in ways he'd never dreamed of.