Detective Sam Free, and his partner, Frank Cortez, have worked their way up from narcotics to homicide. Cortez was preparing for an early retirement, fueled by monies he had absconded with from crime scenes he’d worked over the years—him, and many other cops in the Fort Apache section of the South Bronx precinct. Free had always stayed away from the temptation of the extra income, and often caught hell from his workmates for his lifestyle; just a small apartment shared with his wife and son in the inner city.
When raiding a suspected murderer’s home, a gun, suspected of being used at a recent triple murder, is seized in the garbage can in the alley behind the house. Free is being pressured into fibbing on the stand by up and coming DA, Celeste Santiago; she wants him to tell jurors that the evidence was found on the suspect’s property. But when Free refuses, he is ostracized by the people he has to work with. So one day he takes a ride up the Taconic highway to a nearby town out in the country, where there is a chance to work for the local sheriff and get out from under the constant stress of his job.
The prices of homes here are too much for his budget; however, an opportunity is dropped at his feet when in a random traffic altercation he has a run-in with a local ‘made man’ and finds his rent collections in a large, black plastic bag—enough to buy the house and move his family out to the country. Deciding to take the plunge, just this one time, Free unknowingly sets in motion circumstances that will find him charged for murder, and being pursued by his former colleagues with only revenge on their minds.
Gribetz, a New York lawyer, drawing on his work experiences, knocks his debut police procedural out of the park.