Thirteen bodies are discovered inside a small Louisville restaurant just after closing time. The ferocity and apparent randomness of the crime prompt the police to call in criminology professor Daniel Millikan-they want a profile of the murderer. Millikan determines that the crime was committed not by a psychopath but by a professional killer of consummate skill and total lack of feeling: "I think that the one who did it is one of the special cases. He's somebody we can't afford to have walking down a street where our families walk." When Millikan learns that the investigation has come to a complete standstill, he commits himself to an unorthodox decision. The only hope of stopping this killer and ending the bloodshed is to employ Roy Prescott, an expert in the narrow specialty of hunting down murderers through methods the police can't-and wouldn't-use.
And so begins a stunning novel by Thomas Perry, "one of the most thoroughly satisfying writers around" (Lawrence Block), a death match fought from one end of the country to the other by two enemies who both understand that only one of them will be alive at the end.