In the fourth Brady Coyne novel, William G. Tapply weaves a tale of political and social intrigue. The novels starts with the attempted assassination of a State Department official by a Cuban immigrant who yells "Free Haiti" as he charges forward with his gun. He is killed in an alley as he attempts his escape.
Stu Carver is the nephew of one of Brady's wealthy clients. He decides to go undercover on the streets of Boston, posing as a homeless man in hopes of writing a book about his experiences. He sends a bum he meets during his research, Altoona, to deliver his pages of notes to Brady at regular intervals. One Monday, Altoona doesn't show up and Brandy learns that Stu is dead. He was found frozen to the death on the streets, dressed in rags with a stomach full of Scotch. Upon closer examination, it is discovered that someone stuck an icepick in his ear. This was no random murder in Brady's mind.
As details of Stu's personal life and his time on the streets start to trickle out, and more people are found dead from icepick wounds, Brady is in a race to discover who is behind the killings and why. Does it have anything to do with the attempted assassination, drugs, or people's sexual preferences, or are these random killings as the police first believe?