n the Philadelphia neighborhood known as the Badlands, drug gangs rule absolutely. Each time a life is lost in the carnage of the local drug wars, a boldly drawn chalk outline of a body appears on the street leading up to City hall: a teenaged dealer, a priest, a little girl with a jump rope. Ofelia Santoro rides her bicycle through the dark, decaying streets, looking for her fourteen-year-old-son, Gabriel. She's afraid of what she might find. Gabriel has fallen in with the most savage of the drug dealers, but now wants to get out--if he can. In this gritty, fast-moving novel, acclaimed Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Steve Lopez brings home the violence that is scarring America's vast urban wastelands, and the humanity that might save them.