Runoff revolves around suspicious election results wherein a local Chinese candidate improbably loses the vote in San Francisco's Chinatown. When the Dragon Lady, a wealthy and influential Chinatown potentate, hires PI August Riordan to investigate for computer election fraud and to determine how it was perpetrated, Riordan unearths more corruption than anyone anticipated.
Despite the fact that the novel is set in contemporary San Francisco, it evokes a curious timelessness that smacks of classic noir detective fiction. Riordan could have been conjured up by Dashiell Hammett or Raymond Chandler, and Coggins gets maximum mileage from his frequent allusions to the works of these authors. Through crisp, understated prose, he perfectly captures the world-weary integrity of his protagonist. In addition to its seamless characterization and narrative, the novel maintains its dark suspense until the gripping conclusion unfolds.
This noir gem is the fourth in Coggins' series featuring San Francisco private investigator August Riordan and it is a polished addition suffused with San Francisco atmosphere.