Detective Bryan Kessler is a Washington, D.C., cop, sidelined to a desk years ago after an injury on the street when he was a patrol officer. His current assignment is in Financial Crimes, whose investigations are routine at best--so it's a surprise when intelligence surfaces that he's been targeted by a "lifter," in underworld parlance a person who "lifts" information from people, through whatever means necessary. And the lifter who's after Kessler is one of the most troubling in the business: a seasoned, though mysterious, pro, Henry Loving. He'll do whatever's necessary to get somebody to talk. He's skilled at torture (subtle, as befits his style), but he vastly prefers to get an "edge" on his target—leverage—by kidnapping or endangering a target's spouse, siblings, friends, co-workers and children. While the FBI, SEC and other organizations race to learn which of Kessler's seemingly insignificant cases is making somebody so uneasy they've called in a lifter, the task of keeping the cop, his wife and daughter alive falls to our protagonist. Corte is a senior officer with a little-advertised federal agency whose sole purpose is to provide personal security for at-risk witnesses, suspects and the like. Corte is, of necessity, a loner and a mystery man, who exists outside the normal world of family, friends and society; he can't jeopardize those in his care by letting his opponents get an edge on him, either. The story is a fast-paced duel between Corte and Loving, each trying to outthink and outmaneuver the other as the story speeds along, from safehouses to motel rooms to traps. This novel is also a Deaver first: written from Corte's perspective, it is the first Deaver thriller told in first-person.