Former Nashville detective and Rhodes scholar, Shane Hadley, hasn’t been involved in a murder case since a stray bullet transected his spinal cord, but the familiar pop,pop,pop of gunshots on a Sunday morning pulls him like a magnet. He wheels himself onto the balcony of his apartment that overlooks Printers Alley and sees Bonz Bagley, proprietor of Bonz’s Booze and Music, lying dead in front of his club.
Shane’s wife, neurologist, Katya Karpov, is doubly alarmed by the murder–she was fond of the old man and also he was taking an experimental drug for Alzheimer’s disease that was invented by Cyrus Bartalak (Cy), Katya’s boss at the university. Katya suspects that Beth, Cy’s wife, altered the study results to make the drug look better than it is.
Hardy Seltzer, the police detective assigned to this case engages Shane in the investigation, launching the two of them on a quest through the worlds of country music, academic intrigue, shady business dealings, and pervasive amorality. Shane finally understands the connections between the Bagley murder, the falsified data from the drug study, and Cy Bartalak’s dishonest business dealings and shocks everyone when he reveals the identity of the killer.