Max Caruthers, a born-again Christian with a hard-living past, travels to Guatemala to track down his father Norman, who wants to drink away his remaining days undisturbed in the little bar that serves as home. But Norman has fallen into debt with the local gangster and chief-of-police, Chucho Cruz, who has other plans for the gringo bus driver. Up north in California, Vicki Valle, the former girlfriend of a recently assassinated L.A. gang leader, is deported over a triviality back to Tijuana. She schemes to bring the drug-running skills she has learned back to her roots in El Salvador. When she arrives there she meets Norman, who is delivering a busload of Mayan girls, destined to lives of prostitution in the United States. Vicki catches a ride back to Panajachel, Guatemala with Caruthers, just in time for his reunion with Max. When Max, Norman, Vicki, and Max's girlfriend Karma are involved in a gun-running operation that ends in a deadly shootout, the survivors take different paths. The Central American setting of the book with its themes of morality, survival, betrayal, and abandonment expands the storytelling tradition of Graham Greene.