Present day: A major mob bust going down. The FBI pulls back surveillance, a killer flees. There’s slaughter in the ’burbs of Chicago; a murderer heads downtown. Why did he do it? Where is he going? Above all, what will he do next?

Detective Wallace Greer and his partner, Romar Jones, are hot on the killer’s trail. They give chase through the Gold Coast and its tony restaurants, under the El in the East Loop, by Lake Michigan and the Chicago River, following the evidence, but always slightly behind; bodies mark the route. Five days in a cold Chicago winter. Motives collide. Psyches split. There’s no rest, no time; it’s all angles and action. They have to head off the killer, prevent killings too close to home. But can they catch him? Kill him? There’s only one way to find out.

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6:17 a.m.

Light trucks lit up the Lincolnwood address like Wrigley Field. The Detective Division Command Van sat like a mobile home for cops. Wagon men propped on two wagons, prepped with cigars. News media yacked into microphones, shot pics, annoyed. Wally strode through controlled chaos, signed the log, and crossed both strips of barrier tape. He stopped ten feet from the house, eyeballed it.

The house was a Cape Cod, windows jack-o’-lantern lit, dormers dark. No car in the driveway, a paved walk straight to the front door, another around the right side of the house. A cop from the district brushed by him, “Big boys all over the place.”

Wally took a glove off with his teeth, pulled a pen from his pocket and jotted notes on his GPR. There were way too many people around to take his normal route and since he was probably the seventieth guy on the scene, he moved through the front door, looked for a familiar face.

“Dan,” yelled Wally as he stood in the entryway, let the door shut behind him.

Dan Shepherd, a First Watch dick, tall and laidback, white haired, walked over, shook his hand. “Pretty awful.”

“I could tell by the audience,” said Wally. “I only got a little bit back at Division.”

Shepherd’s lips curled. “Victim at the dining room table, one shot to the head. Another in the basement. Female officer from District 18. Anna Rodriguez. Duct taped to a chair. Tortured. A long morning’s turning into a longer day.”

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