On the evening before Thanksgiving, Hal Chase, a guard in the San Francisco County Jail, drives to the airport to pick up his stepbrother for the weekend. When they return, Hal’s wife, Katie, has disappeared without a clue.
By the time Dismas Hardy hears about this, Katie has been missing for five days and the original Missing Persons case has become a suspected homicide—with Hal as the prime suspect. And the lawyer he wants for his defense is none other than Hardy himself.
Hardy calls on his friend, former homicide detective Abe Glitsky, to look into the case, and there proves to be no shortage of possible suspects aside from Hal. As he probes further, Glitsky learns of an incident at the San Francisco jail, where Hal works—only one of many questionable inmate deaths that have taken place there. Then, as more clues surface, Hal is arrested and finds himself an inmate in the very jail where he used to work, a place full of secrets he knows all too well.
Against this backdrop of conspiracy and corruption, ambiguous motives and suspicious alibis, an obsessed Glitsky closes in on the elusive truth. As other deaths begin to pile up he realizes, perhaps too late, that the next victim might be himself.