Years after watching his preppy friends sexually violate a young woman at a Palm Beach party, lowly assistant DA George Becket puts himself at risk by investigating their involvement in the unsolved murder of a girl in Cape Cod.
The old friends, including several cousins, are related to a powerful Massachusetts senator—the "incredibly nice guy" who got Becket his job. The murder victim's grieving father, written off as a nut case for pestering authorities with theories about the cold case, convinces Becket the person who clubbed his daughter to death with a golf club wasn't found for political reasons. Becket quickly discovers links between that crime and the one in Palm Beach. Haunted by his failure to do anything to prevent the rape, he becomes obsessed with solving the murder. He flies around the country, and to Costa Rica and France, questioning people. He is so dogged in his pursuit of the truth, he earns the respect of the guy hired to beat him up. This book sometimes bogs down in whodunit-style exposition. The suspects include a one-time best buddy of George's who escaped to Idaho to run a rafting company, the bratty cousin who is now a shifty foreclosure banker with a movie-star girlfriend, and a family friend now living in Europe under an assumed name. Everyone has secrets, including Becket's elusive ex-wife, who cheated on him with a colleague of his, and his attractive co-worker, a society type who may or may not be on his side. Even when the action slows, Walker maintains his dry, sometimes biting humor and moral edge.
In his first novel since The Appearance of Impropriety (1993), San Francisco trial lawyer Walker delivers a convincing portrait of misbehavior among the rich and powerful.