Pele is walking around Kilauea and stirring things up, which culminates in a powerful eruption that not only severely damages the Hawaii Belt Road and Jagger Volcano Observatory, but also an abandoned cemetery on the outskirts of Volcano Village. Amongst the dirt, bones, and splintered caskets is a recently deposited female corpse, a mystery because it has no fingertips, only two point-blank bullet holes in her torso.
And while Hilo Chief Detective Koa Kane is working with Georgina, the department’s best crime scene technician, to process the body and the scene, an angry young white man shows up in Koa’s office doorway, identifying himself as Bobby Hazzard, grandson of Anthony Hazzard, the brutal mill manager Kane killed in revenge for his father’s death 30 years ago. The younger Hazzard wants to avenge his grandfather’s death and decimate the police department for its flimsy investigation into what appeared to be a suicide. Which, of course, unnerves Koa Kane to the bottom of his soul.
So while his nerves are raked with the needles of guilt, he and new colleague Makanui Ka’huane work to identify the victim, who turns out to be a high-level employee of a secretive defense contractor with powerful and mighty political friends. Those same friends are also in Bobby Hazzard’s support circle, working to discover what the younger Hazzard considers his grandfather’s murder. Koa carefully tiptoes around that investigation, constantly fearing his revenge will be uncovered. When a burly reformed felon is charged with Hazzard’s death, he knows that if the man is convicted, he’ll have to confess to his longtime friend, Hilo County Prosecutor Zeke Brown, and watch his carefully built life collapse.
The tension rises as both cases build steam, nearly paralyzing Kane with anxiety and insomnia as payback creeps closer and closer. Readers experience those same emotions as they follow Kane through the complex defense contractor murder and the trial of a man Koa knows all too well is innocent, helpless as they watch a beloved friend fight vicious external and internal battles, guided by the sure hand of Robert McCaw.