Iraq War vet Ellie McEnroe has a pretty good life in Beijing, representing the work of controversial dissident Chinese artist Zhang Jianli. Even though Zhangs mysterious disappearance of over a year ago has her in the sights of the Chinese authorities. Even though her Born-Again mother has come for a visit and shows no signs of leaving.
But when her mom takes up with "that nice Mr. Zhou next door," Ellie decides that its time to get out of towngiven her mothers past bad choices of men, no good can come of this. An old Army buddy, Dog Turner, gives her the perfect excuse. His unstable brother Jason has disappeared in picturesque Yangshuo, a famous tourist destination, and though Ellie knows its a long shot, she agrees to try to find him.
At worst, she figures shell have a few days of fun in some gorgeous scenery. But her plans for a relaxing vacation are immediately complicated when her mother and the new boyfriend tag along. And as soon as she starts asking questions about the missing Jason, Ellie realizes that shes stumbled into a dangerous conspiracy that may or may not involve a sinister biotech company, eco-terrorists, an art-obsessed Chinese billionaire and lots of catsone that will take her on a wild chase through some of Chinas most beautifuland most surrealplaces.