Evelyn James, forensic pathologist for the Cleveland Medical Examiner, is called out to the river's edge to take a look at the body of a girl, recently pulled from the water. A Caucasian, the dark marbling of decomposition had spread through her limbs like poison. After years in the job, Evelyn is used to such things - to the sight of victims washed up by poverty or grief - but this is quite different, and much nastier. Her feet had been encased in concrete, her body wrapped in chains. Every ounce of Evelyn's experience suggests this girl was alive when she went in - alive and terrified, clawing at the dark water. And she isn't alone ... other young women have recently met a similar fate. Cleveland's mayor, Daryl Pierson, doesn't like the bad press, nor does he like coming into contact with Evelyn again. They were lovers once, a long time ago, and much has been left unsaid between them. Evelyn's hunt for the killer takes her into the highest and lowest levels of society and brings her face to face with a ghost from her past. But when the daughter of a prominent family disappears, she finds herself in a desperate bid to put the pieces of the puzzle together, before she is called, once again, to the water's edge.