Evil simmers in the story as the plot unfolds and it takes a while for Parker and his side-kicks, Louis and Angel, to make an appearance.
Jerome Burnel has recently been released from prison. He hires Parker to prove that he is innocent of child pornography charges. He also tells Parker that he is afraid that he will be killed for a heroic act that involved members from a small town cult known as The Cut.
Initially the reader doubts Burnel’s innocent, a skilful technique on the behalf of Connolly who constructs the story in such a way to question Burnel’s innocence. Before too long Parker finds links from Burnel’s case to other violent crimes in the Maine area, and this leads the investigation to a reclusive town in rural West Virginia. The town is ruled by The Cut who live in Amish-like seclusion. They control the town and (ironically) the criminals, but it is evident that their income is based on criminal activities instigated by The Dead King.
The Cut and Parker’s dead daughter provide a supernatural element which may be confusing for readers who have not read A Wolf in Winter. This should be a compelling reason never to miss out on any of the Charlie Parker books.