Doug Bard has been a detective with the sheriff’s department in La Graciosa, California, long enough to know the score. Now that an influx of upscale chain stores and luxury housing has turned sleepy Chumash County into a boom town, the last thing anyone wants is crime casting a shadow over the prosperity. But Bard also knows he’s not the kind of man who can write off a double fatality as a tragic accident especially when all his instincts tell him it was murder. When a devastating housefire claims the lives of a kindly local retiree and his eleven-year-old piano student, District Attorney Angela Stark wastes no time declaring the blaze a mishap. But the verdict just doesn’t sit right with Bard. Inconclusive but troubling clues marks on the dead girl’s neck, a strange bootprint on a kicked-in door are enough to make the veteran detective buck the party line and fight to keep the case open. It’s a stand that puts the renegade Bard at odds yet again with his superiors. Until a suspect surfaces. Placed at the scene of the deadly fire by an eyewitness, Jed Jeremiah is a backwoods loner with a homicide conviction in his past. But even as the sensational murder trial gets under way, the same instincts that told Bard there was foul play afoot now convince him that the wrong man may face the death penalty and a calculating killer is still at large. Defying the sheriff and the D.A. and putting his job on the line, Bard begins to dig for the truth. What he discovers is a shocking link to his own past one that will put the people he loves most in deadly jeopardy.