DC Sam Shephard is stationed in Dunedin CIB, a newbie at the bottom of the pecking order.
When a young university student is found battered to death and floating in the Leith, she is pushed to one side by her boss and only given grunt work. Despite this, it is Sam who discovers that there has been a string of unsolved murders on the South Island, and that each has occurred while a travelling circus was in town - the same circus that is presently in Dunedin.
Angry at being marginalised, Sam decides to work alone, ignoring the attempts of her friends to help her, and keeping her lines of enquiries secret. But her headstrong attitude, and the fact that she is human and makes mistakes, put her and those she loves in very real danger....