Realtor Veronica Gillis is loud and aggressive and some people hate her. Police Captain Alexander Moffat, routinely described as soft-spoken and kind, begins the first homicide investigation of his new job in California’s picturesque Gold Country when her body is discovered at the church she planned to convert to condominiums.
Moffat and young Sergeant Jason De la Peña quickly identify six suspects each with a motive and no alibi. Then, less than twenty-four hours later, a man in a ski mask attacks Nicole Davies and Moffat finds reason to believe his predecessors overlooked a pattern of crimes going back three decades.
The Gillis and Davies cases tug for Moffat’s attention. Dogged and thoughtful police work yields leads including DNA matches that are not human, surveillance video that unravels two alibis, ballistics evidence linking two murders and newspaper clippings from 1970 that hold vital clues. Along the way, Moffat stages a successful decoy operation, is drawn into a dangerous stand off at the high school with an armed teenage suspect and narrowly escapes death when the manhunt for the serial killer turns into a high speed car chase.