J. J. Donovan is sitting on the beach, his back against a palm tree, watching the sun rise over the Caribbean. He wears the self-satisfied expression of a man who spent half the night reveling with his ex-wife. Donovan and his ex, Kate Byrne, have been enjoying a romantic vacation in the U.S. Virgin Islands. As he sips hot tea and watches the colorful spinnakers on sailboats dancing out beyond the barrier reef, he has no way of knowing that his close friend and partner, the inimitable Dr. Boris Koulomzin, has been seriously injured. Before the sun sets again in paradise, Donovan and Kate will be on a plane headed home.
On returning to New York City, they find Dr. Koulomzin bruised and bandaged, with several hundred crusty stitches crossing his face and jawline. The Professor is also scared. The mistaken delivery of a plain brown envelope to his seats at Yankee Stadium has managed to change his life forever. A demented man named Johnny St. John is desperate for the return of that envelope. And St. John, who believes he is the right hand of God, is prepared to mete out his own deadly form of justice.
The envelope that Mr. St. John will stop at nothing to possess contains photographs and confidential information about three innocent-looking people--a young actor, a sculptress, and a businessman. These three individuals seem to have nothing in common. Except for the fact that they are all very sick.
In this fast-paced sequel to Broken Machines, Donovan finds himself racing against time to save these helpless, innocent people, while trying to expose the man behind a scheme to murder them for their viatical, or death, benefits. Along the way, he earns the wrath of Johnny St. John. A man with eyes so black they don't reflect light, St. John ultimately threatens to destroy everything J.J. Donovan holds dear.