Ray Mitchell, a former TV writer who has left Hollywood under a cloud, returns to urban Dempsy, New Jersey, hoping to make a difference in the lives of his struggling neighbors. Instead, his very public and emotionally suspect generosity gets him beaten nearly to death.
Ray refuses to name his assailant, which makes him intensely interesting to Detective Nerese Ammons, a friend from childhood, who now sets out to unlock the secret of his reticence.
Set against the intensely realized backdrop of urban America, the cat and mouse game that unfolds is both morally complex and utterly gripping.
"Masterful detail, vivid scene-setting, and acutely observed, naturalistic dialogue." (Booklist)
“A whodunit with substance and suspense...Price is known for terrific dialogue, and there are moments when you feel as if you are listening to [his characters] speak, not just reading words on a page...It’s the most interesting kind of mystery - one in which the villain is not so easy to spot even when we know who committed the crime.” (Anne Stephenson, USA Today)
“Engaging...provocative...Price has a fine ear for the subtle tension between sentimentality and real devotion, and he understands the way that chronic black poverty plays into the needs of ‘the selflessly selfish.’ If this is a novel that raps the knuckles of a helping hand, it’s nonetheless one to grab on to.” (Ron Charles, The Christian Science Monitor)