In his latest, the author of the Easy Rawlins novels draws a literary bead on a different, possibly unsolvable sort of mystery -- that of the human condition. The protagonist is Charles Blakey, a young African American with an assortment of mental and spiritual maladies and a house he can no longer afford. One day a white man appears at his door, offering big bucks to rent Blakey's basement for the summer. Blakey agrees, altering the fates of both men in ways that are nearly as shocking as the use to which that basement is ultimately put. Suffice it to say that questions of race, morality, power, guilt, accountability, life, and death are unflinchingly examined in a context that will keep readers uncomfortable and riveted through the last page.