Florida prison chaplain John Jordan's search for the peace that has so long eluded him is interrupted by an unimaginable murder. Attempting to be a good man in a very bad place while also maintaining his shaky sobriety, John investigates the murder of the seven year-old adopted daughter of ex-con turned televangelist, Bobby Earl Caldwell, a murder committed in John's own locked office when Bobby Earl conducts a service in the Potter Correctional Institution chapel.
This unspeakable act, and the investigation that follows, will force John to confront his own fears and beliefs, causing this man of mercy to thirst for justice. Torn between the seemingly conflicting roles he's asked to assume--cop and cleric--John must struggle to figure out his identity as well as that of the killer's, but his past continues to haunt him in the form of troubling thoughts of failure and the resurfacing of his ex-wife, Susan.
Putting aside his distrust of the slick televangelist and his seductive wife, John must ignore intimidation and resist manipulation to find a killer among some very unusual suspects--including two murderers, a child molester, a teacher with something to hide, and Bobby Earl Caldwell himself whose very act of exposing his daughter to such risk causes John to suspect him from the very beginning.
Amid private crises and the torturous experiences of a thoughtful, sensitive man working in such a pitiless place, nothing short of death will end John's search for the person who killed little Nicole Caldwell. Uncovering the guilt, restoring the balance, John seeks pardon from the self-inflicted life sentence he's serving and exoneration from the burden of regret he bears.