Max Roper is compelled to use all of his resources to stay alive long enough to last through the mystery of The Kissing Gourami. What starts out a fairly simple and even downgrading assignment, quickly becomes an obsessive search for a brutal killer, leading Roper a skill-numbing chase from Los Angeles to the glittering gambling casinos of Las Vegas, and finally to the chilling temple of marine biology. Max has to deal with the murder of a beautiful blonds by some ingenious unfriendly fish, and thus meets a handsome young golf pro with one eye out for a brunette heiress with hundred million dollars and the other for a shapely redhead who plays with sharks for kicks; an unforgiving acid-mouthed sports reporter; a designing matador; an erudite marine biologist who lost a leg and gained a lifelong enmity; a college cutie who moonlights at a tropical-fish aquarium when she isn’t out with a spear-gun killing things; a giant, hulking mad sculptor who used logs for playthings; and over all, the creeping menace of the vengeful animal-like first string executioner of the Las Vegas underworld, Big Vince Geneva. The Kissing Gourami starts when Max Roper’s boss, head of the EPT security organization, assigns him to find a ten-thousand-dollar missing dress. In this instance, Max is motivated not merely by duty, but by the gnawing thought that he might find a girl inside it, one whose specifications are mind-blowing enough to warrant his putting his life on the line for it. Max finds out what he knew before, that things are seldom what they seem, and a person can get himself severely beat up and even killed trying to dispute the point.