When Emily Kramer wakes up at 5:30 in the morning and realizes that her husband, Phil, has not come home, she makes a few frantic phone calls but fails to find any answers. Later she goes to Philís office, but his employees have not seen him since the night before. Then a phone call from the police informs Emily that Phil has been found dead in his car, shot.
Before long, she learns that their bank accounts, personal and office, have been all but emptied, any life insurance policies long since lapsed. With no idea what or who caused her husbandís death, Emily determines to keep the business afloat, at least temporarily, while she does her best to discover exactly what her secretive husband has been up to. While the couple has had their share of personal tragedy, they have been content with their lives, Philís business thriving.
In contrast, Jerry Hobart long ago wasted whatever potential the future might have held for him. Leaving a long-term girlfriend behind, Jerry has spent years in prison, belatedly returning to the woman he loves, realizing that their time has passed. Drawn back to Valerie, Jerry can only spend brief amounts of time with her before mutual disappointment leads both to petty recriminations that once more drive the couple apart.
Hired to murder Phil Kramer, when he is tapped to return to L.A. and kill Kramerís widow, Jerry decides there may be more profit for him if he can find exactly what information Kramer had that would cause a powerful man to hire an assassin. Slipping into a familiar role as burglar and general sleuth, Hobart decides to spend some time investigating Kramerís information before taking out Emily Kramer.
In a cat-and-mouse game played out beyond the bounds of police investigation, Emily and Jerry are after the same result but with far different intentions. The police have done all they can, but Emily wants to know what happened to Phil. Jerry intuits a profit if he is clever enough to sidestep the man who hired him, a man who has no tolerance for being thwarted.
Three unlikely protagonists act out their fates, Philís actions bringing about his death, his wife left to navigate an uneven playing field, a case of the good, the bad and the ugly. Emily is, of course, the good, Jerry the bad, relatively speaking, and the third character, the mastermind who lives in wealth and social prominence, the truly ugly, a perpetrator of great harm protected by excessive arrogance and the power of position. Contrary to expectations, Perry manipulates the disparate energies of each character in a satisfying twist.