Five lives in the Baltimore area have been brutally destroyed over the past six years - five unsolved homicides, seemingly unconnected except for the suspicion that each death was the result of domestic violence. In hot legal water - and court-ordered therapy - Tess Monaghan accepts an assignment with a local nonprofit organization, agreeing to review police documents on each case for inconsistencies and investigative blunders. But curiosity is leading the disgraced p.i. off the paper trail as she follows scant leads and intuitions into the most remote corners of Maryland - where a psychopath can hide as easily in the fabric of a tiny fishing community as in the alleys and shadows of Charm City. Because a single common thread to five senseless murders is beginning to emerge with shocking clarity to tie the loose ends together into one bloody knot - and the link is Tess Monaghan herself.