Jim Conover, author
After discovering that one of her assistants, Ray Pratt and his wife, had been tortured and murdered in Elmwood, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, Melissa Manigoni, Illinois State Attorney General, places a call to Deuce Ryker, her friend and a top notch private detective to give her a third eye on the scene. Deuce Ryker finds the scene to be as terrible a torture murder scene as he had ever seen, even during his many years on the Chicago Police Department. The sheer number of stab wounds, slashes and deep cuts on both victims told Ryker the killers had enjoyed the torturing of the victims. It was obvious to him that the killer or killers were after information. The fatal slashing of each victim’s throat told him they had either gotten what they wanted or decided the two simply didn’t know what they wanted. Ryker soon learns through information given him by an old acquaintance, that a contract has been put on Melissa Manigoni, not to kill her but to kidnap her. With the help of his Chicago Police Detective friend, Bob Roland, they derive a plan to protect Manigoni from whoever put out the contract. Thinking the contract was the result of a trial coming up on members of the Escabado drug cartel, Ryker sends Bob Roland and Melissa Manigoni to a hotel in East Peoria, Illinois where they were to hide out until the trial. Ryker remains behind to find an important file, but finds himself caught in a life or death situation where he nearly dies. Someone learns the location of Bob Roland and Melissa Manigoni hiding place in East Peoria and they are attacked by several men. Roland is badly wounded and Manigoni is kidnapped. Ryker is alerted to the attack by a nurse at OSF Hospital in Peoria and heads south. He arrives in Peoria within three hours or so of the attack. Knowing Roland will survive his wounds, Ryker, with the aid of a retired corporate executive and ex-military Special Forces soldier, Thomas Morgan and his personal jet, cress-crosses the country as he follows the evidence and his own hunches in his pursuit of the kidnappers and the love of his life, Melissa Manigoni.