"By our house, you will know us" - Kickapoo saying
When a blue whale is struck by a research vessel off the north coast of California, the enigmatic Hugo Sandoval, San Francisco Building Inspector, is catapulted nearly two-hundred miles north, into the heart of a mystery surrounding a struggling company town perched on Pacific cliffs and its captive whale
“It was one of those nights where the fog paints you right to the pavement. You know those nights; I know you do. Steel streetcar wheels squealing against the tracks up Market Street, raspy voices of taxi horns and faint sirens; streetlights on the bridge strung like of dull pearls bleeding through the mist—and the smell. If I told you I loved the smell, I think you would understand. I’ll never come clean of it,” the old man said with a touch of melancholy. “A mixture of old mudflats and dreams.” - mid-century newspaperman, Alfred Kleinen to Hugo
On the run, Hugo escapes the City for Florida's Gulf Coast where he confronts his old adversary, sea level rise. While consuming an enormous amount of Gulf shrimp and rum he unravels the captivating mysteries of Blind Key long buried in the mangroves -and even ones captured by the reef - despite being chased by pirates
"You can’t see Blind Key from the water even if you’re sailing straight for it. It’s not much more than broken pieces of shells and mangroves snapped off of the barrier islands of Captiva and Sanibel, her big brothers defending the small of her back from the shallows of Pine Island Sound." - Harrison to Sara Dunne
Chasing our toxic energy legacy from Gaslight Cove in San Francisco to the converted Power Plant at Moss Landing to open sea wind farms, Hugo joins his best friend on an emotional journey to Elkhorn Slough to find Harrison's uncle, a satellite engineer gone missing just as his satellite is headed home
For San Franciscans, the fog provided more than a convenient metaphor; at times it was a security blanket for the lost and confused. That morning, Hugo saw that the fog was never more needed as he ran up the steps into City Hall. The mayor was waiting and he wanted answers, but Hugo took a beat.
Catching his breath on the landing, he turned to look back over the plaza. He listened to the spring winds rock the billowing tents of the homeless, sing in a high pitch whine though the chain link fence and set the doors of the portable toilets to flapping.
Reluctant to duck beneath the impressive, gilded dome of the rotunda, Hugo realized that his hometown had been raided and he was at a loss as to what to do about it.