The serial killer stabbing young women to death in Cancun hotels with an ancient Maya sacrificial flint knife is aptly nicknamed Gilbert, after the hurricane that also devastated the tourist industry in Mexico's tropical paradise.
Luis Balam - a rare full-blooded Mayan and an ex-traffic cop who lost his job because he refused to compromise his integrity - fears one of his people will be accused of the killings and all of them made to suffer. When Proctor Smith, a shabby North American missionary, is arrested at the scene of the fourth murder, Luis would like nothing more than to see the Mayans exonerated - but an instinct for truth tells him that the hapless gringo in the Cancun prison has been framed.
Becoming involved - unofficially - in the investigation, Luis finds himself again confronting the cruel forces of brutal power and rampant corruption that control Mexico's coastal playground and that have already cost him a career. Working with an ambulance-chasing Mexican lawyer, a misguided flying saucer cultist, and the mucha simpatica sister of Gilbert's latest victim, Balam unearths new depths of local greed and depravity.
Although the goons of a vicious playboy make it clear that this time he could lose more than a job, Luis Balam is determined to free the fall guy by finding the real killer.