Tripp Clipper is back, this time as a deadly outbreak of unknown origin spreads through Charleston like wildfire.
A routine autopsy on a couple of unidentified homicide victims takes a turn for the weird when Homeland Security swoops in and seizes the bodies. Even weirder, Clip and the attending pathologist are debriefed at a safe house where a doctor pokes and prods them to determine if they were infected, but Homeland Security won't tell them with what.
Two homeless guys shooting each other isn't normally a matter of national security. But every time Clip investigates what the John Does were involved in, Homeland Security intervenes. When the bodies start piling up in his morgue--all seemingly healthy adults--he knows it's connected. There's been an outbreak and the government is trying to get a handle on it quickly and quietly. That is, until it mushrooms out of control. Things turn for the worse when the funeral home's secretary is hospitalized, quickly followed by his girlfriend. Government officials place Charleston under quarantine, and DMORT arrives to deal with all the bodies. Clip needs to find out what's going on before half his city (and his loved ones) end up dead.
It all started with those two John Does. He has to figure out which one is Patient Zero.