First the Army, then the military police, Virgil Flowers had kicked around for a while before Lucas Davenport recruited him to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, promising him "We'll only give you the hard stuff". He'd been doing the hard stuff for three years now - but never anything like this. In the small town of Bluestem, where everybody knows everybody, a house way up on a ridge explodes into flames, its elderly owner trapped inside. Following up rumours of financial scams plus some very dodgy activities with other men's wives, Flowers discovers several reasons why the victim was so hated. And that wasn't even the reason why he'd come to Bluestem. Three weeks before, there'd been another murder, two in fact - a doctor and his wife; the doctor found propped up in his own backyard, both eyes shot out. There hadn't been a murder in Bluestem in years, and now suddenly three? Flowers knows two things: This isn't a coincidence, and this has to be personal. But just how personal, Flowers might not find out until too late. Because the next victim ...might be himself.