She was naked, lying on her side in the open back of an SUV. Her arms were bound with duct tape at the wrists, her legs at the ankles and at the thighs.
     'Did he tie her up before or after he beat her?'
     'What difference does it make?'
     There were bruises and cuts all over her body. The killer had paid special attention to the buttocks, the breasts, and the pelvic area. The one eye that was open was glassy. The other had swollen shut. Her mouth was open, revealing a set of broken incisors.
     'Before,' Rassi said.  'Are you in?'
     I wanted a cigarette.

     When Dana Hartman returns to Tazewell County after nearly twenty years in Chicago, he's fleeing a dead child, a broken marriage and an assault charge, determined to live out the rest of his life as a recluse.

     But when his brother is killed in the line of duty by a housewife-turned-methamphetamine addict, and he inherits the guardianship of his brother’s nine-year-old daughter, it’s time to step up to the plate.

     Tazewell County already has its own fair share of trouble: crystal meth, dead junkies, and the murdered daughter of prominent local businessman Wayne Trueblood. Dave Rassi, the dead sheriff's right-hand man, wants Dana in on the case.

     Yet Rassi seems to have his own agenda, and to make matters worse, the woman who killed Dana's brother has recanted her guilty plea: she says someone else pulled the trigger.

     And why is everyone Dana knows trying to warn him off the case?


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