One question, a split-second decision, and Brian Darby lies dead on the kitchen floor. His wife, state police trooper Tessa Leoni, claims to have shot him in self-defence, and bears the bruises to back up her tale. For veteran detective D. D. Warren it should be an open-and-shut case. But where is their six-year-old daughter? As the homicide investigation ratchets into a frantic statewide search for a missing child, D. D. Warren must partner with former lover Bobby Dodge. For Tessa Leoni, the worst has not yet happened. She has nowhere to turn, as the clock ticks down to a terrifying deadline. A mother knows who she loves. And all others will be made to pay.