The first appearance of Barrett Raines in A Rock and a Hard Place added an intelligent and extraordinarily engaging black policeman to the short roster of leading Afro-American fictional detectives.
At the end of A Rock and a Hard Place, Raines is so torn by the conflicts he faced that he's gone into an emotional tailspin. While trying to save himself from depression Raines gets a new case. It involves the discovery of a mysterious stranger's body that strongly speaks of illicit dealings and Raines is pressed to follow a trail that takes him to an island so remote he can hardly find the way to it. There he encounters a situation that forces him to call upon his courage and his intelligence not only to solve the crime but to save his life.