It began with a massive arson in an abandoned warehouse in the thriving South Loop area of Chicago and became much more when the unidentifiable bodies of two men were found in the rubble. City officials dismissed the dead as vagrants and drug addicts who probably started the fire for warmth on a frigid Chicago night and got caught in a tragedy of their own making.
But privately, neither the medical examiner nor a state arson investigator believes the city’s dismissal of the fire and the deaths. Deuce Mora, the lead metro columnist for the financially ailing Chicago Journal newspaper, doesn’t want to get involved. But because the arson investigator, Mark Hearst, is her partner, she finds herself drawn into a horror that keeps growing.
With sickening regularity massive arson fires begin to ravage Chicago. Dozens are dying. Hundreds are hurting. Property damage is unfathomable. Authorities have the arsonist’s DNA. They have his fingerprints. They even have a witness description. But nothing matches any database in the country, and the structure of the attacks matches no known terrorism group. Whoever is setting the fires has found a way to live completely off the grid: in addition to no recorded fingerprints or DNA, he has no driver’s license, no car, no Social Security number, no bank account, no utility accounts, no cable TV, no regular job, not even a library card.
As the serial arsons continue the feds step in to lead the investigation, insisting that ISIS or another foreign terrorist group is to blame.
But Deuce doesn’t buy that. Nothing points to any known terrorist group anywhere in the world. And no terrorist group is taking credit for an increasingly horrific series of crimes.
Then the pattern begins to take on an astonishing new meaning that could lead Deuce right to the killer.
If he doesn’t find and kill her first.