Not your average detective vel, Who Killed Newsboy Clemmons? is part mystery, part chronicle, and part philosophical exposition-a humorous-yet-introspective look at the colorful world of its hero, John Stick LeMaster, PI. A former baseball star whose All-American career was cut short by a drunk driver, LeMaster has stockpiled wisdom the hard way, thanks to a stint in the Marines, several years as a private investigator, and a short-lived marriage that has left him hopelessly in love with a woman he can't save, much less have. The story opens with LeMaster, in his late thirties and fresh off a trip to the Far East, discovering the dead body of Jimmy Newsboy Clemmons amongst the baggage in an airport carousel. The gruesome sight is one LeMaster won't forget anytime soon: Newsboy's killers propped his eyelids open with toothpicks, decorated his chest with a machete, and left a Post-it te especially for the PI. Welcome home, Stick, the te reads. This one's for you. Newsboy, a friend and former grifter and bookie turned community organizer, had been instrumental in turning around the Torch, his inner-city neighborhood. As LeMaster searches for clues, the detective is forced to walk a tightrope between paraia and swagger, between past and present, between his personal feelings and his professional duty. A character in his own right, LeMaster is surrounded by outsized one-offs. There's Arnie Red Ruby, a Newsboy contemporary who grew up a grifter before cleaning up his act. There's Ee Criosci, aka Nikki the Mad Romanian, a staunch anti-Communist who cut his teeth as a freedom fighter in the Solidarity uprisings before emigrating to America. There's Freddie Sniffer Winston, a former world-class swimmer with two Olympic medals and a se so potent, courtesy of reconstructive surgery after a fiery auto accident, that he's become a resource for the CIA. And of course, there's South City itself, a bustling metropolis on the Atlantic seaboard with eugh mobsters, con artists, and double-crossers to make the Big Apple look drab in comparison. It's those closest to LeMaster, however, who ultimately lead him to Newsboy's killers. Leslie, his ex-wife locked away in an institution after suffering a breakdown, acts as LeMaster's constant muse, the first person he thinks of when he wakes and the last person to enter his mind when he drifts off to sleep. Her Aunt Margaret, perhaps the only person as devoted to Leslie as LeMaster himself, keeps the thread alive between the detective and the love of his life, offering hope, resolve, and ever-elusive perspective. Also in the detective's corner: SCPD Lieutenant Ernesto Chavez, an old pro with brooding good looks, a steely gaze, and a solid equilibrium; Maury Stern, LeMaster's self-proclaimed Jersey Shrink, a psychologist whose mantra-grow up-gently sustains the detective; Hamilton Justice Hammy Squires, an incredibly successful and much revered business titan who always makes time for LeMaster and is always encouraging; and Danny Bryant, highschool chum, best man at his wedding, a former Marine who LeMaster saved during one harrowing afteron in a minefield in Afghanistan, earning a Purple Heart and Silver Star in the process. Finally, there's Newsboy's family: Dolores, his lovely widowed wife, and JP, his nineteen-year-old son. The two, acting on the high regard Newsboy always had for LeMaster, take the detective into their confidence. A combination of good detective work and t-so-lucky breaks leads LeMaster to Newsboy's killer, but the detective unwittingly walks into a perfectly orchestrated setup at an abandoned power substation, a setup designed to put him six feet under while paving the way for a new Don in South City. Only then, surrounded and outgunned, face-to-face with Newsboy's killer, does he learn who has his back-and who would stick a shiv in it.