CHAPTER ONESan Francisco, California Thursday evening, November 24th
Twice now on the way back from dinner Diane Lacombe had aborted the process of lighting a stale cigarette. She'd been dredging them from the depths of her purse -- her emergency stash buried just in case she had to fall off the wagon some night -- but once again she tossed the unlit cigarette into a street-corner trash can, pushing back her mane of auburn hair with an unsteady hand. Relaxing right now was an apparently useless quest, and the need to rummage for yet another cigarette was rising.
She calculated the number of blocks back to her Mission...