DCI Jane Birchfield is facing a series of personal challenges: a rocky relationship with her partner, her mum hardly talks to her; and her boss and mentor is critically ill, which means she is having to cover his post as well as her own. Then she has to take charge of the toughest of murder investigations.
Young Jamie Castleton is found dead, seemingly frozen in position at a computer in a grubby internet cafe in the Manchester suburb of Ashbridge. Enquiries reveal he was a self employed tech consultant and a computer expert, so what was he doing in there? His mother is convinced he was up to no good, and the cafe manager is soon under suspicion for trying to hide Jamie’s browser history.
But the more Jane and her increasingly enthusiastic team dig under the surface, the more the evidence points to one of Manchester's biggest companies, Greaves, and its super-wealthy boss, Graeme Hargreaves. This leads Jane into a sordid underworld, and a surprise twist in the investigation forces her to face up to an event in her own past, that she has kept buried for 25 years.
Slowly, but surely, the net tightens around the suspects, but can she stay objective, and can she keep herself, her team, and her relationship, together, and bring the killer to justice? For Jane it has become a personal crusade, but in this race against time there is far more at stake than she ever imagined.