A serial kidnapper, dubbed the Pied Piper because of the tin whistle he leaves as his signature, has been snatching young children to sell them on the adoption black market. Lou Boldt, now a lieutenant, is called in to stop him. With two small kids of his own, this crime is particularly loathsome to Lou, whose wife is hospitalized for cancer. Little does he know how desperate fate will make him before all is said and done. Collaborating with forensic psychologist Daphne Matthews, and former partner John LaMoia, and reluctantly, the FBI, Boldt must subdue his own emotions to weave a coherent picture from the few shreds of evidence that have emerged. The Pied Piper is one of Ridley Pearson's weaker works, suffering from too many words, too much coincidence, too many details, and surprisingly, too much sangfroid displayed by his hero. Lou takes matters entirely into his own hands, acting in secret against his own colleagues, when he should have passed the lead to a more dispassionate investigator, remaining connected in an advisory position. It will be interesting to see if his behavior leads to any ramifications in future cases.