Though a graduate of the prestigious Athena Academy, Police Lieutenant Kayla Ryan has doubts about sending her daughter to this institution ever since someone hired assassin The Cipher to kill her best friend Rainey Carrington. The Cipher is dead, but few clues have surfaced as to who hired this professional hitman and why and what happened to Rainey's missing child.
Detective Peter Harkey informs Kayla that Rainey's spouse archeological professor Marshall is under suspicion because he seems to be involved with smuggling. Kayla has trouble accepting the professor as a smuggler or that his actions led to her best friend's murder. Still she made the "promise" back when she, Rainey, and others were students at the academy. She will continue to dig though she feels someone is watching how close she gets to the truth.
New readers would be better suited to read the previous novels in the series first to help understand all that is going on (see PURSUED by Catherine Mann and DOUBLE CROSSED by Meredith Fletcher, etc.) in this exhilarating suspense thriller. Still this is a strong police procedural romance with the emphasis on the suspense. The story line is action-packed with plenty of subplots (that is why the reading the predecessors would help) though Kayla makes a terrific lead with her obsessive tenacity to uncover the truth.