Jason Kolarich feels lucky to be assigned to the second chair in defending Senator Hector Almundo from a charge of murder. The case deals with Almundo's alleged deal with the Cannibals street gang. They were shaking down businessmen for contributions to Almundo's election campaign and splitting the profits. When a businessmen refused, he was murdered. The chief witness against Almundo is his chief-of-staff, Joey Espinosa.
One night, Kolarich is waiting for a call from a confidential informant, Ernesto Ramirez. The call is important so Kolarich's wife takes her infant and begins the drive to her parents home without Kolarich. In a double tragedy that changed his life, his wife and child are killed when his wife went off a slippery road and crashed. Later, he learns that the reason that the informant didn't call is that he was murdered.
After a period of mourning, Kolarich returns to work. He is approached by Essie Ramirez, Ernesto's widow. She wants him to find her husband's killer.
Since Kolarich feels responsible for Ernesto's death and because he feels that he is the cause of his wife and child's deaths, he accepts. He believes that if he can find Ernesto's killer, he could, somehow, make up for his failure.
We experience Kolarich's pain with his loss. He then tries to ingratiate himself with the politicians and associates of Almundo. However, his actions are caught by the FBI who are investigating corruption from the governor's office down to the local administrators. Kolarich can't prove that he was innocently pretending to work for these officials and so, agrees to go undercover for the FBI.
The novel describes an intricate story with an investigation at two levels. Kolarich works for the FBI to catch the corrupt officials but he never forgets that his first goal is to find out who killed Ramirez.
Kolarich is a heroic character who is just a man, trying to do the right thing. Unlike some of the super heroes of today's thrillers, he isn't able to overcome the strength of his foes. But he has determination and the feeling that he's righting a wrong.
The novel is well written and provides an interesting character portrayal as well as a fine, and all too believable thriller.