When Bunny Pederson disappears after being a bridesmaid at her best friend's wedding, the police call for volunteers to help search for her. One of them, a travelling shirt salesman, discovers the woman's amputated finger and the missing person inquiry becomes a murder investigation. In the absence of a body, the salesman, Justice Trip, is courted by the media - a position he'd learned to enjoy from a similar experience some years previously. Paris Murphy, a detective with the Minneapolis-St Paul's Police Department, remembers Trip from her schooldays and isn't convinced by his act as a caring citizen, especially when Bunny's body is found in an area Trip had visited. The case isn't strictly in her jurisdiction, but it is a welcome distraction from her failing marriage and her guilt over an affair she knows isn't really over.
Justice Trip was ugly, still lived with his invalid father in a trailer park and his c.v. was a repetitive litany of firings from dead-end jobs. But he was very successful at killing people - and getting away with murder - until Paris Murphy crosses his path.