Santa Fe artist Jimmy Mackey wakes up in his studio on Canyon Road with a massive hangover. His morning gets worse when a police cruiser pulls into his parking lot next to a strange car and even worse when police find a dead woman in the trunk of the car. The dead woman turns out to be the estranged wife of the Santa Fe mayor. The ultra-sensitive case winds up in the hands of retiring police detective Fernando Lopez, the only detective with enough experience to conduct the politically fraught investigation. Lopez interviews Mackey and the artists who were drinking at Jimmy's studio the night of the murder, all deeply suspicious with flimsy alibis. He also interviews the mayor in a tense scene at City Hall. When Mackey flees Santa Fe, Lopez chases him across northern New Mexico–from haunted Ghost Ranch to the counterculture city of Taos, where he finds Mackey hiding at the home of one of his ex-wives. Before Mackey can be arrested he is shot and killed by two assassins. Suddenly the Police Chief and the Mayor want Lopez to close the case, since the main suspect is now dead. When Lopez refuses, the two assassins come after him. Lopez senses a cover-up. The case takes a surprising turn at the end, which forces Lopez to rethink his idea of justice. Includes Readers Guide.