Alluring lost wives. Vengeful academic superstars.
A memory-plagued widow. A detective on the edge.
Harlem private eye SJ Rook wants to forget his past. Ex-soldier, ex-drunk, ex-tramp are titles he's eager to bury. He's building a new life at a neighborhood detective agency. And he's working on a solid relationship with his crime-fighting partner, Sabrina Ross. But without warning, Rook's past returns with a vengeance in the enticing form of his ex-wife. Visiting New York for a convention, Annie Perry is a self-made millionaire with more than business on her mind. She's confident, alluring, and ready to rekindle feelings Rook thought he'd left far behind.
When Annie is murdered shortly after their reunion, her death sends Rook over the edge. To find her killer, he must delve into her past, even if it hurts. There's the oily vice president and the angelic business associate, plus the three thousand people who attended the conference. But Rook's suspicions focus on a clutch of university professors who buzzed around his ex-wife. Driven by grief and distracted by jealousy, Rook digs into fraught campus politics and buried scholarly history in his search for the truth. Violence and betrayal dog his investigation. Rook learns that envy, greed, and fraud are not merely academic.
As he hunts Annie's killer, Rook's relentless quest uncovers clues to another mystery from the past, a case that strikes even closer to home. His boss's wife was talented, volatile, and troubled. She vanished without a trace twenty-five years ago. Her disappearance stunned veteran detective Norment Ross and devastated their daughter Sabrina. If Rook solves this ice-cold missing person case, can he restore peace to Norment and closure to Sabrina? Rook wants the truth, for his boss and for his lover. But the only clues to this strange puzzle are hidden in the addled mind of a lonely widow. As the old woman's memory blurs, Rook is running out of time to solve the case of the detective's lost wife.
Faced with old grudges and buried lies, unsettled desires and secret promises, Rook races to untangle the threads of these twisted cases. Can he bring the killers to justice before the past fades forever?