When a local quarry yields a garroted body with bad dental work and toes tattooed in Cyrillic, Joe Gunther figures it's a Russian Mafia killing, rare as that might be in Vermont. But it's so very...tidy. So very...professional. Then the CIA calls, inviting Gunther down to Washington for some friendly "assistance" with his case. Suddenly he's caught up in a shadowy game of cross and double-cross - manipulated by cynical, cold warriors who don't seem to have gotten the memo - and Gunther soon realizes that he's a pawn both sides are willing to sacrifice.