Despite his bronze star with its prized V for valor, Nick Sayler was once a thief, junkie, and prime suspect in a murder case. Now he’s a mostly changed man, a private investigator with a long list of rich clients and a good life. But even after ten years there’s not enough whiskey in the world to wash away acid-etched memories of Julia Carteret, the beautiful woman who took a bullet meant for him.
He never expected a second chance to make things right until he got a midnight call from a distraught young doctor and a plea from a fragile dancer with no money, no memory, nothing in her pocket except Sayler’s card, and the number 44 carved across her back. With bewitching violet eyes she looks so much like Julia, Sayler thinks keeping her safe could put him back on the road to redemption. But not long after he takes her home to his Hudson River barge, he learns that she has a past as dark as his own, and soon he’s protecting her from a patient sociopath with seemingly preternatural power to be in two places at once.
Sayler needs his wingman Meriwether, the brilliant savant, and his restless backup, Tommy Fallon NYPD homicide, whose dicey investigative methods keep them under the radar, which is the only place to be when Sayler taunts danger. As he nears old secrets linking the dancer to a strange group: a voluptuous redhead, a concert pianist, a skateboarder, and a Polish nanny, he starts to learn why the murderer’s sex-stoked obsession can’t end until the girl is dead. When the killer who never sleeps gets the best of an exhausted Sayler on an isolated island off the coast of Connecticut, in Manhattan’s meatpacking district, and on the streets of Harlem, smart money might bet both ways, except for one sure thing: in spite of his bad leg and worse habits, no matter what the cost, Nick Sayler will not let another woman die.