There is a Florida that has nothing to do with Disney World, tourists or Holiday Inns. So says author Darryl Wimberley, and it's a Florida he knows. He knows, too, that in towns like Pepperfish Keys, there are those who still can't believe that a black man could rise to a high position in the state police. But Barrett Raines has done it; his father may have been a moneyless fisherman enriching his white employer, but things have changed - a bit. Sharon Fowler, a local television reporter, isn't concerned with Barrett's race - she wouldn't have cared if he were pink and green. She just wants to use him to get him (and, she hopes, the state's senator as well) into some kind of blazing trouble that will let her write a prize-wining story. Senator Baxter Stanton, of course, knows how important it is that the town's voters consider him "their man" in the upcoming election. There are activities he would like to stay hidden, and his young daughter, whom he can't harness, is having a fling with a man whom Barrett suspects is dealing with the senator in some kind of illegal business. But things happen that neither Barrett nor Sharon expected, throwing them into an unlikely alliance. The dead body of the senator's daughter is discovered behind a water heater in the senator's mansion. Can Raines pull the threads together - and find out what they mean?
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