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The peace and quiet of Barbara's retreat on the Oregon coast is shattered when a terrified young boy calls to her as she walks along a deserted beach. Frantically he leads her to a cabin deep in the woods where his mother lies senseless and battered-clearly left for dead. Barbara runs for help, but by the time she returns with the police and medics both mother and son are gone.
The puzzle only deepens when, back in the city, Barbara learns that the boy she met is the grandson of a wealthy and prominent family- and that they have accused her of aiding and abetting his disappearance.
With the help of her father, Frank, Barbara delves into the mystery of the missing child, only to realize that the kidnapping is a ruse for a more sinister plan-a plan that pits the meaning of family against cold hard cash.
But the more she learns, the more questions she has, and troubling obstacles continue to thwart her every move-from the justice system that employs her, to the false identities of those around her. Yet none of these things compares to the shocking murder scene that awaits her.