Cincinnati homicide detective Will Borders now walks with a cane and lives alone in constant discomfort. He’s lucky to be alive. He’s lucky to have his job as public information officer for the department. But when a star cop is brutally murdered, Borders is assigned to find her killer. The crime bears a chilling similarity to killings on the once peaceful college campus nearby, where his friend Cheryl Beth Wilson teaches nursing. The two young victims were her students. Most homicides are routine, the suspects readily apparent. But there are no obvious suspects in this new case.
A cache of diamonds is stolen in Phoenix. The prime suspect is former Maricopa County sheriff Mike Peralta, now a private investigator. Disappearing into Arizona's mountainous high country, Peralta leaves his business partner and longtime friend, David Mapstone, with a stark choice: He can cooperate with the FBI or strike out on his own to find Peralta and what really happened.
A handsome young New York professor comes to Phoenix to research his new book. But when he’s brutally murdered, police connect him to one of the world’s most deadly drug cartels. This shouldn’t be a case for historian turned deputy David Mapstone—except the victim had been dating David’s sister in law, Robin, and now she’s a target too. David’s wife, Lindsey, is in Washington with an elite anti-cyber-terror unit, and she makes one demand of him: protect Robin.
The private detective business starts out badly for former Phoenix deputy David Mapstone, who has teamed up with his old friend and boss, Sheriff Mike Peralta. Their first client is gunned down just after hiring them. The case involved the suspicious death of a young Arizona woman who fell from a condo tower in San Diego. The police call Grace Hunter’s death a suicide, but the client doesn’t buy it. He’s her brother - or is he? After his murder, police find multiple driver’s licenses, and his real identity is a mystery.
When his friend Peralta, newly sworn in as sheriff, is shot by a sniper, David Mapstone, former historian and new deputy sheriff, can’t keep a cool, academic distance - and he’d better not. While Peralta lies comatose in the hospital, the powers that be install Mapstone as acting sheriff in his friend’s place. Mapstone feels unqualified, but he’s the only person whose temporary appointment won’t infuriate all the other candidates, who want the sheriff’s position permanently. Meanwhile, a cryptic note scrawled by Peralta before the shooting forces Mapstone to confront his own personal history, inadvertently drawing him into danger.
Cheryl Beth Wilson, a nurse at Cincinnati Memorial Hospital, finds a doctor brutally murdered in a secluded office. Wilson had been having an affair with the doctor's husband, a surgeon, and now she is a "person of interest" if not an outright suspect. But someone other than the police is also watching Cheryl Beth.
"A waste of a credit, definitely!"
From the moment one of his sources takes a dive off a downtown skyscraper, a newspaper columnist is plunged into a harrowing maze of murder, intrigue, and secrets that powerful forces intend to keep hidden at all costs. The columnist joins with an aggressive young reporter to see if one explosive story can save his dying newspaper—and much more.