The car fire didn't kill Navajo Tribal Policeman Delbert Nez, a bullet did. Officer Jim Chee's good friend Del lies dead, and a whiskey-soaked Navajo shaman is found with the murder weapon. The old man is Ashie Pinto. He's quickly arrested for homicide and defended by a woman Chee could either love or loathe. But when Pinto won't utter a word of confession or denial, Lt. Joe Leaphorn begins an investigation. Soon, Leaphorn and Chee unravel a complex plot of death involving an historical find, a lost fortune ... and the mythical Coyote, who is always waiting, and always hungry.