Mason Tully didnt take it seriously, not at first; leave the beautiful southern California coast to track down a missing wife in the summer heat in Arizona? The would-be client made a hefty cash offer. The answer was still no. Tully was about to hang up when the caller told him the one thing that would take the ex Phoenix police detective back home after four years, the identity of the missing woman.The Buick Roadmaster rumbled over the aging two lane highway between Yuma and Phoenix, its sleek black surface gleaming in the late morning sun. Mason Tully sat behind the wheel, oblivious of the tedious desert landscape split by the ribbon of pavement racing at him. His mind, instead, was mired in the past.Four years ago, his marriage over, his career no longer important, he walked away. Ninety hour work weeks were soon replaced with intermittent stints as a bouncer in a never-ending series of dives along the coast of Mexico for drinking money.A year later, deciding enough was enough, he made his way up the coast to Los Angeles. He spent the last of his fortune on a presentable suit and the first months rent on a small apartment above a dive shop near the pier. Tapping into an old friendship from his days as a cop, he started working as a private investigator. Eighteen months later his friend was shot twice in the back by an embezzler unwilling to repent. Paralyzed from the waist down, he sold the agency to Tully.The highway doubled to four lanes as the outskirts of Phoenix approached, bringing Tully back to the present. He turned the powerful convertible left onto Camelback Road and drove east through town to the hotel where a suite had been booked for him by his well-heeled new client.Shortly after dark, braced by dinner and three fingers of whiskey, Tully waited at the hotel entrance for the car that had been sent to pick him up. The more he thought about it the more this seemed like a bad idea. Two hours later, on his way back up to his suite, he was sure of it, but there was no going back. The pooch had been screwed.His clients story wasnt adding up. Maxwell Stone told him he had returned home from a friends birthday party four nights ago to find his wife gone. "We have been going through a rough patch lately but i know we can work it out. Find her and bring her back Mr. Tully."Before leaving Tully searched Stones expansive ranch style house. Despite a herculean effort to conceal it he found traces of blood in the bathtub drain and damage to the arching faucet in the master bath that indicated someone had taken a hard fall, hard enough to kill.Why would Stone hire me to find a wife he probably murdered himself, or had murdered? Shes probably pushing up cactus somewhere in the desert, that is if the coyotes and the buzzards havent managed to dig up the body, he wondered.Tully cringed. One way or the other he had to know what happened to Sara.