Vice President John Walker dies in the arms of his mistress on the same afternoon that a sniper kills President Harrison Tate. A coincidence? Inspector Colin Gifford and Tracey Schultz, the chairman of the task force appointed to investigate, do not think so. A thorough FBI investigation fails to develop a single clue, and the killer covers his trail with more murders. He eliminates the two people, the vice president's mistress and his chief of staff, who had information that could identify the conspirators. Gifford, a long time friend of the dead president, initially stands aloof, fearing that his relationship with Tate renders him too subjective to be involved. A cryptic note written by Tate before his death and an angry appeal from the grieving presidential widow draw Gifford into the case. In an attempt to identify the conspirators, Gifford focuses on motive. Who gained from the murders? Circumstances force him to look at the acting president and acting vice president. With the rampaging media tracking their every step, the investigation takes Gifford and Schultz into treacherous waters.