Things are never easy for Scottsdale private eye Lena Jones. Her partner in Desert Investigations is leaving for a wife and a job at Southwest MicroSystems. Her old captain at the Scottsdale PD is moving home to Brooklyn. Now she's doing security for Warren Quinn, director of a documentary being shot at Papago Park about the German POW camp and the "great escape" of Christmas Eve, 1944, when some prisoners tunneled out and fled. And one surviving escapee, Kapitan Zur See Erik Erns - a man in his nineties confined to a wheelchair after a boating accident - has just been murdered. Worse, his Ethiopian caregiver begs Lena to clear him as a suspect.
Lena, experienced in probing the past for answers to the central mystery of her own life, learns that Ernst and two other POWs hid out in the rugged Superstition Mountains. Nearby, on Christmas Night, the Bollinger family was slaughtered. A jury didn't convict the only survivor, the teenage son. What might Chess Bollinger know about Ernst - and vice versa? And how much can Lena trust Quinn, either as a client, a witness, or a lover?