As the great balloon bearing the image of a clock swoops across the River Grande, Pauly Caton watches her husband of four days fall from the sky. Who is the naked child who scrambles from the gondola when it strikes a sandbar and flees? Did she just imagine it? Why would he have been up with Randy and the pilot on the honeymoon ride she was too chicken to join? Who, in fact, was meant to die? And meant to die it wasaher hastily snapped photos of the scene show a masked sharpshooter stationed high up in a tree.
As Pauly tries to put her shattered life together, she discovers the lies. The first in the morgue. How else had Randy deceived her? Had he told her anything that was the truth? Were his partners in their get-rich company any more honest? Pauly knows she hadn't signed any of the documents the lawyer presents to her. Maybe she'll insist on becoming an active partner.
Pauly's flamboyant Grams, the much-married carnival queen, offers her only grandchild a place to recover, a retreat on Albuquerque's west side that's home to fifty odd folks complete with clowns, a handsome tattoo man--and the snakes. And then Pauly finds out she's rich--money that she swears could not have been Randy's. Where did he get it? Who was the son he apparently adopted? A trip to El Paso uncovers more mysterious acts and points her towards the truth. But will she live long enough to find it?
Susan Slater reveals the same sharp offbeat plotting skills, the zest for language, and colorful scenes that marked her caper Flash Flood where ""troublesbuild like thunderheads over New Mexico skies."" Publishers Weekly]