The third Allen Choice mystery from Bay Area writer Leonard Chang begins with the usual trappings of the genre -- violent crime, cops, and concealed weapons. But Chang sets a higher tone early on, when he has Choice, a private investigator in San Francisco, treat us to a passage from Kierkegaard's Either/Or, something he continues to do throughout the book. Burdened by self-doubt and a fear of connection, Choice uses the philosopher's ideas to help him wade through a surprisingly uncomplicated personal life (while Chang seems to use them to show off his education). In between these musings, a plot escapes in the form of a child abduction case: Choice's ex-girlfriend, Linda, and her sister, Julie, hire him to find Julie's daughter, Nora, who was abducted by her father, who has money and associates with Very Bad Men. Choice seems to solve the case in his sleep, mostly by making background checks. A few minor twists keep things interesting, but the focus of the story is Choice's struggle with his identity and his process of self-discovery. Chang writes spare, controlled prose -- the Bay Area shows up as a sketch of street signs, bridge traffic, and fog -- but neither the predictable plot nor the troubled Choice ultimately holds interest.