On a cold Minnesota morning, Detective Sarah Pribek comes home to a puzzling answering-machine message: her husband, a homicide detective who was supposed to start his FBI training today, never showed up at Quantico. When Sarah finds his packed bag underneath their bed, she knows: her husband has disappeared.
As hours turn into days, Sarah finds herself investigating on her own. Her former partner is on indefinite compassionate leave following the brutal murder of her daughter. Sarah’s other colleagues, following the wisdom on missing adult males, suspect that Mike Shiloh has simply walked out on his life in the Twin Cities. But though Shiloh’s co-workers in the MPD consider him remote and sharp-tongued, Sarah knows her husband to be unflinchingly loyal to those he loves. She cannot believe that Shiloh would leave her with no warning, and she begins a investigation that includes the cold case that made Shiloh famous, and then his childhood in a stifling, deeply-religious home. But when the trail of evidence turns back toward home, Sarah has no choice but to turn to her old partner, and they head for a showdown with a killer who has never paid for his crimes …
Six months after the death of a small-town criminal in rural Minnesota, Sarah Pribek is still protecting the identity of a killer. Now an ambitious D.A.’s investigator vows to close the case, and with Sarah’s husband in prison and her partner half a world away, only Sarah remains to face the consequences of last fall …
Providing a much-needed distraction is a perplexing missing-persons case: the son of a famous, reclusive novelist is unaccounted for, perhaps a runaway. Despite the lack of evidence for foul play, the boy’s twin sister pleads for help from Sarah — but she won’t explain the reason behind her desperation, and she seems to be hiding as much information as she’s sharing. As Sarah reluctantly steps in to help, she discovers hints that the family is haunted by a much older and more serious crime.
At the same time, Sarah’s lieutenant assigns her what’s supposed to be an ‘easy’ job: get to the bottom of rumors of an unlicensed doctor practicing medicine in a public-housing project. Sarah takes the case, but in Cicero Ruiz, Sarah finds a tough, wounded survivor whose moral code challenges her own ideas about justice, and whose hard-won life would be destroyed by an arrest.
Balancing two cases that strain her professional ethics, Sarah struggles to do the right thing and to outwit the D.A’s investigator determined to lay a murder at her door. And increasingly, Sarah fears that a misstep on her part might mean disaster — even death — to one of those she has promised to protect.