October in Seattle—a dreary, drizzly time of year, and it doesn't help that private eye John Denson’s favorite hangout, the Pig’s Alley, is being converted into a fey French restaurant. Things are worse for Denson’s good friend and darts partner Willie Prettybird. A salmon fisherman by trade, in business with his brother Rodney, Willie is nervous about a lawsuit they've brought to gain treaty fishing rights for the Cowlitz Indian tribe, an action that has made the Prettybirds a few powerful enemies among the sport and commercial fishing interests, notably Foxx Jensen and Doug Egan. What worries Willie even more is that somebody is threatening his pretty sister Melinda, by beating up her boyfriends.
Denson volunteers to look into Melinda's problem, which at first seems a simple case of a jealous ex-husband, though Mike Stark doesn't really fit the part. But when the federal judge in the Cowlitz suit is reported missing, and when neatly butchered cuts of human flesh begin mysteriously to turn up in a downtown park, Denson realizes he's cast his net into deep and dangerous waters.
The Seattle police hope that a sophisticated computerized scanner trained on the park vicinity will discover case-breaking evidence. Denson, his methods less fancy, pursues his own unconventional course, helped on his offbeat way by a motley ensemble: a beautiful and brainy lawyer; a renegade cop with a grudge, and the wacky owner of Juantar’s Doie Bar, Denson’s new home away from home. It is a case full of fish stories, and Denson’s job is to find out who the liars are. With a shocking climax set in a spooky labyrinth underneath Seattle's sidewalks, it is surely the grisliest and most bizarre case of John Denson’s eccentric career.
"The Denson books...sophisticated, well-written and excellent examples of the genre."—The New York Times Book Review