The past never really leaves us. Crime reporter Julia Gooden sees proof of this every day in her stories. A dark childhood, a negligent parent, early abandonment-any one of them can seal a person's fate as either a villain or victim. Julia, who experienced all three, seems to have beaten the odds, finding happiness raising her two sons and a blossoming relationship with detective Raymond Navarro. But now, after three decades of absence, Julia's conman father has resurfaced to throw her life into turmoil again. Julia was only seven when Duke Gooden abruptly left. Barely a month later, her nine-year-old brother, Ben, disappeared. Ben was her hero and protector, and though the case is cold, Julia has never given up hope of finding him. Duke's return offers vital clues-but it also makes her a target of those who intend to see Duke punished for his many sins. When Julia investigates the death of a city councilman's young nephew, she finds links to a string of other murders . . . and to a web of greed and kidnapping that stretches back decades. At long last, Julia may be able to discover what happened to Ben all those years ago, but only if she's willing to risk everything in her present . . .