Cedar Rapids, Iowa. A Catholic priest has been found half-naked and dead in a seedy motel room, with his tongue cut out. Ex-FBI profiler Robert Payne has been called in to investigate by his childhood friend Steve Gray, now a monsignor. With a fund-raising drive coming up, Steve wants to squelch a scandal. But all the signs point to unholy doings in the tightly knit parish. Why did the pugnacious president of the Parish Board remove a gold earring from the scene of the crime? Was his beautiful blonde wife doing more than confessing to the profligate priest?