The creator of "exciting, thoughtful, wily fiction" (The Washington Post), Jeremiah Healy has won critical raves for his John Francis Cuddy novels, "a superior series" (The New York Times Book Review). Now Healy pushes the envelope of mystery writing with a soul-searching tale that plunges Cuddy into his own private nightmare. Some mysteries have no answers -- like why an airplane falls out of the sky, and why the woman you love was onboard that flight. When unfathomable tragedy strikes Boston private investigator John Francis Cuddy, all he can do is begin to grieve. There's no revenge. No perp. And no cure except time. But when Cuddy is jarred by a call for help from an old Vietnam-era comrade, time is a luxury he can't afford. Cuddy goes because he has to. And what he finds in Fort Lauderdale is a tragedy that rivals his own: a proud vet brought down by a stroke, searching for his granddaughter's killer. The girl was found dead in Colonel Nicolas Helides' heavily guarded mansion on the Intracoastal Waterway. Thirteen years old and far from innocent, Veronica Helides was hardly protected by her family's wealth. Used by her own father to revive his music career and the fortunes of a band named Spiral, Veronica had been molded into a sexually provocative rock starlet. By the time someone drowned her at her grandfather's birthday party, murder was merely the last crime committed against her. Now Cuddy is picking apart a cast of players in the life of Colonel Helides and the granddaughter everyone called "Very." From Helides' younger, depressive son to former groupies; from a mysterious spiritual advisor to the woman who married the colonel for his money and the license it would buy her, Cuddy is seeing the worst of human nature at a time when his own heart is broken in two. If that were not enough, the killing of a precocious victim may not have been the isolated act it first appeared. In a powerful and mesmerizing novel of uncontrollable love, rage, and loyalty among families and friends, John Francis Cuddy isn't just trying to catch a killer -- he's trying to stop himself from free-falling into the ultimate human darkness.