Set in New Orleans, the hometown of Hock's new wife, black actress Ruby Flagg, Thrown-Away Child is a pungent Creole stew of family secrets, sour politics, ritual murder, and bittersweet revenge. Hoping for respite from his hard-drinking past in Manhattan, Hock travels to the fabled Land of Dreams with Ruby to meet her close-knit family. Hardly have the newlyweds arrived when the peaceful home of Hock's mother-in-law, Violet, is disrupted by two racist cops hunting for Ruby's cousin Perry Duclat, who has been living with Violet since his mother abandoned him. Now this thrown-away child is a grown and troubled man, wanted for murder. The victim is Perry's former cellmate at Angola penitentiary, whose mutilated body has been branded with a bizarre acronym - MOMS. When Perry disappears, Hock teams up with a disenchanted New Orleans cop to conduct a highly unofficial Investigation. Before justice is finally done, there are more brutal murders - and more brandings. Among the slain: a little boy so alone in the world he can only guess at his name. Besides the terrible murders, Hock must resolve personal quandaries: the meaning of Ruby's unsettling emotions about returning to her southern roots, and his own future - if any - with the New York Police Department.