After an influx of upscale chain stores and luxury housing turns sleepy Chumash County into a boom area, the last thing anyone wants is crime casting a shadow over all the prosperity. But when a devastating house fire claims the lives of a kindly local retiree and his eleven-year-old piano student, detective Doug Bard can't write off a double fatality as a tragic accident--especially when all his instincts tell him it was murder.
It's a stand that puts the renegade Bard at odds yet again with his superiors. Until a suspect surfaces. But even as the sensational murder trial gets underway, Bard is convinced that the wrong man may face the death penalty--and a calculating killer is still at large. Defying the sheriff and the D.A. and putting his job on the line, Bard begins to dig for the truth. What he discovers is a shocking link to his own past--one that will put the people he loves most in deadly jeopardy.