The quiet of Longboat Key, Florida, is shattered when an old man is shot to death and his murderer is killed while fleeing the police. Strange documents in German and Arabic are found in the killer's car then an old friend of the murdered man disappears. The island's only detective, Jennifer Diane (J.D.) Duncan receives a text message with a picture taken that morning of a college friend whom she thought was dead. Matt Royal and J.D. are pursued by men who would do them harm, and Matt's best friend, Jock Algren, a shadowy operative of the U.S. government's most secretive intelligence agency comes to visit the island. As the mystery deepens, a ragtag group of devious and dangerous characters intrudes on the lives of the islanders, creating a kind of havoc unusual for a sun-splashed island full of retirees and beach bums. Matt, J.D., and Jock rush to find the answer to why one old man was killed and another disappeared, the meaning of the photo sent to J.D. of her almost surely dead college friend, and why somebody is trying to kill them.
At the start of Griffin's complicated eighth mystery featuring retired lawyer Matt Royal (after Fatal Decree), Royal's "sweetie," Longboat Key, Fla., detective J.D. Duncan, receives a text message with a photo of her friend Katie Fredrickson, who disappeared after Katie's husband, Jim, was murdered in Sarasota a year earlier. Forensic evidence at the scene suggested Katie was probably dead, but now there's hope she's alive. Duncan also investigates the fatal shooting of elderly Ken Goodlow, a WWII vet who was on his way to see Royal at the time of his murder. Duncan follows up the cold case involving Katie, while Royal tries to discover why Goodlow wanted his legal services. When the going gets tough, Royal turns to his best friend, Jock Algren, whose ruthlessly applied justice provides counterpoint to Royal's relaxed Florida lifestyle and good-natured banter with Duncan. Despite the unwieldy plot, Griffin's fans should be pleased.