In Santa Teresa, California, approximately eighty-five percent of all criminal homicides are resolved. The victims of unresolved homicides I think of as the unruly dead; restless, dissatisfied, longing for release. In the hazy zone where wakefulness fades into sleep I can sometimes hear them whisper the names of their attackers. I lie awake, listening, hoping to catch a syllable, a phrase, straining to discern in that role call of conspirators the name of one killer. Lorna Kepler's murder ended up affecting me that way.
Lorna Kepler was beautiful and wilful, a loner who couldn't resist flirting with danger. She had also been found dead in mysterious circumstances but as time goes by the file is shifted to the unsolved section. One night her mother knocks on Kinsey Milhone's door, and Kinsey is pulled into a netherworld of deception, betrayal and unavenged murder.