Rochelle Baxter was an artist recently arrived from Washington State, cruelly cut down in the early stages of a promising career. Now all that remains of her lies on a cold slab in the Cochise County morgue, and Sheriff Joanna Brady knows that murder has once again infected her small desert community. But there is more to this homicide than initially meets the eye, the victim died while under government protection. Instructed to swallow her indignation, Joanna awaits the arrival of the newest member of the state's special homicide investigation team, a man named J.P. Beaumont. Sheriff Brady resents his intrusion and cannot help but make her feelings known. But the road they are forced to travel together takes some unexpected turns, running them headfirst into the impenetrable stone walls of a conspiracy of silence. Brady and Beaumont's hunt is disturbing a very deadly nest of rattlers, and suddenly trust is the only option they have.