It is the summer of 1994 and the major-league baseball players have taken their balls and bats and gone home. With no beat to cover, sportswriter Kate Henry finds herself with rare time off to relax at home in Toronto's east end. But all is not tranquil in the neighbourhood. Anti-abortion protesters are picketing the house of a doctor who lives down the block. The papers are full of controversy over the police shooting of a joy-riding black teen, and Kate's lover, homicide detective Andy Munro, is shot in an incident which only fuels the outcries of police racism. While Andy recuperates, Kate has more than a cranky patient to deal with: Maggie, the homeless woman who has been living in the laneway behind Kate's house, suddenly vanishes. The police are indifferent, and Kate, prodded by the concern of her tenant's son, T.C., begins a hunt of her own. Her search takes her to corners of her neighbourhood she's never had reason to explore, from a women's drop-in centre to a seedy adult-video shop, and she gradually learns about Maggie's unlikely and disturbing past. A brutal murder links that past to the present and ultimately engages Kate in a daring, potentially dangerous, investigation. Alison Gordon's clever plotting, fast-paced dialogue, and deft characterization spark with energy. The background setting of Toronto's Riverdale district -- the trendy aspects as well as the darker side -- teems with life. Striking Outplaces Alison Gordon in the front ranks of Canadian crime fiction writers.