For Jake Stewart, a simple background check turns sinister and seedy in this murder mystery based in the steamy Gulf Coast metropolis of Houston, Texas. Sue Webster, a young and naive secretary, hires the cynical, but honest, Stewart to check into the background of her new boyfriend, Darrell Slater. Later, when the girl's body is discovered slashed and dumped under the shadows of downtown Houston, Jake sets out to discover the reason and the person behind the senseless murder. Along the way, Jake himself discovers love for the second time in his life when he meets Annie Jenkins, the county coroner. Helping out with the more mundane duties of a private investigator is Jake's brother, Marshall, and a somewhat unconventional Houston police undercover officer named Ralph Patterson. As Jake closes in on the target, his efforts are blocked by corrupt FBI agents and the head of a multinational organization with personal ties to the primary suspect. In the end, justice gets served in a most unusual manner.