Twenty-five years ago, Stella Guzzo beat her daughter to death and then walked up the street to play bingo at her church. V.I. Warshawski grew up with the Guzzo family. She dated Frank Guzzo when they were teens and knew Stella's murderous rages first-hand. She didn't think about the family again until the day Frank came to her office, wanting V.I. to help his mother with an exoneration claim. The detective wants no part of Stella Guzzo's world, but she doesn't feel able to say no. V.I.'s inquiries put her smack in the path of a notorious Mob enforcer. When she gets jumped in her old 'hood, her biggest question becomes whether she will live long enough to find the answers.