The quiet life of Victory, Wyoming, where Chief Harry Starbranch and Deputy Frankie Tall Bull are the total police department, has been roiled by the gruesome killing of Victoria Austin, a young research assistant at nearby Laramie's agricultural college. Carl Buchanan, the drug-addicted son of Harry's old friend and staunch supporter Cassie, has confessed, been tried in Laramie, and sentenced to death for the crime. Harry is convinced of Carl's guilt and only reluctantly gives in to Cassie's impassioned plea to find something that might save her son's life. He starts at the college where Cassie's older son Trace is a professor and where Victoria was working in the molecular biology department headed by attractive Annie Quinn, a full professor. Bits of rumor and gossip lead Harry to ask his computer-savvy son Robert to explore the background of Quinn's project. It appears to have been funded by high-powered Loveladies Pharmaceuticals and to be a search for an anti-aging panacea. Barely started on his mission but already suspecting a miscarriage of justice, Harry is shocked by the news of Carl's suicide--in his jail ceil. When Robert is beaten up and his computer printouts stolen, Harry knows he's on the right track--a track that will humble some old enemies and send Harry's life in new directions, with longtime lover Cindy Thompson at his side. Packed with the author's usual bloody confrontations, graphic but often tender love scenes, delights of fly-fishing, and wondrous Wyoming scenery: a taut, high-tension, and compelling fourth outing (A Death in Victory, 1997, etc.).