The Denver Police think that John Hewitt has simply taken off, probably with another woman, but Caroline Hewitt doesn't believe it. In frustration, she turns for help to her old friend, middle-aged software consultant Lexy Connor. Lexy thinks that 35 years without so much as a Christmas card strains the definition of friendship, but she finds it hard to refuse to help. As Lexy explores the world of John Hewitt, she comes to agree that his disappearance is not simply a manifestation of an overdue mid-life crisis; something vastly more sinister has happened. The only clue is a portrait of an unknown woman, painted by an equally mysterious artist, but it proves to be enough as Lexy discovers once again that there is no limit to the evil people are capable of inflicting on others in the name of love. Lexy's search takes her from the lush landscapes of the Mid-Hudson Valley of New York to the stark mountain ridges of Nevada before it ends in a confrontation with a killer in the Rocky Mountains of her own backyard.
It begins with a phone call that Nora Watts has dreaded for fifteen years—since the day she gave her newborn daughter up for adoption. Bonnie has vanished. The police consider her a chronic runaway and aren’t looking, leaving her desperate adoptive parents to reach out to her birth mother as a last hope.
A biracial product of the foster system, transient, homeless, scarred by a past filled with pain and violence, Nora knows intimately what happens to vulnerable girls on the streets. Caring despite herself, she sets out to find Bonnie with her only companion, her mutt Whisper, knowing she risks reopening wounds that have never really healed—and plunging into the darkness with little to protect her but her instincts and a freakish ability to detect truth from lies.
The search uncovers a puzzling conspiracy that leads Nora on a harrowing journey of deception and violence, from the gloomy rain-soaked streets of Vancouver, to the icy white mountains of the Canadian interior, to the beautiful and dangerous island where she will face her most terrifying demon. All to save a girl she wishes had never been born.