Domenic Stansberry. Chasing the Dragon (2004) 307 pp.
Dante Mancuso is an ex-SFPD homicide detective now working as a covert operative for a shadowy quasi-governmental agency that he refers to simply as “the company.” He was booted off the force after pushing too hard on a case that he was ordered to drop. After the death of his estranged father, Dante is sent back to San Francisco by the company to set up a sting to net a Chinese mobster, a radical Black Muslim, and a drug dealer. He is ordered to attend the funeral, insinuate himself back into his family and his family’s business (the operation is supposed to go down in the warehouse owned by his uncle). Although his father was suffering through the final stages of cancer, Dante soon begins to suspect that his death may not have been from natural causes. Then his uncle is murdered, after giving Dante some photographic negatives that his father had, leading him back to the case involving a dead family of illegal immigrants and a murdered customs inspector that had been his downfall as a San Francisco cop.
Setting: San Francisco (North Beach; Chinatown)