FBI agent Andrew Thomas has disappeared after interrupting a Navajo ritual being performed by a group of medicine men or hataaliis. Navajo Police Special Investigator Ella Clah is assigned to the case over the objections of Thomas's supervisor, who unfavorably recalls Ella's time with the FBI and believes her to have received special treatment because she is Native American.
Determined to find the missing man, Ella studies Thomas's latest case--a fraud investigation--and finds that evidence is missing or has been tampered with. Clues lead both to the interrupted Sing and to Ella's old friend, FBI agent Blalock. Ella knows Blalock is incapable of assaulting one of his own men--but that leaves the focus on the hataaliis.
The fraud trail leads through a maze of paperwork, banks, government offices, mortuaries, and into the Navajos' most dearly held-beliefs about death. Only by finding the truth--and fast--will Ella be able to save Andrew Thomas.