The protagonist, Matthew Z. Worth, a former peace officer, w college professor, works as an itinerant part time professor of criminal justice at several colleges located in the rthern San Francisco Bay area. He also works occasionally as a private investigator, whenever the mood strikes him, the money is good, and the case is intriguing. He is looking forward to a leisurely summer vacation, but instead he accepts the offer tendered by a small law enforcement task force directed by both state and federal authorities to work quasi-undercover as a consultant for the state's Board of Corrections reviewing grant applications and screening applicants who will receive millions in grant money from federal bailout funds, to establish community correctional facilities. The task force suspects that some sort or association or organization has been formed by certain prison gang members, both inside and outside of prison, might be seeking access to the money. Matt's job is to determine who might be involved. Before he can begin, his ex-wife shows up seeking refuge. He agrees to have her mind the house while he is away, and their relationship evolves during the story from the bitter pangs of divorce to what might be a new beginning. Matt's investigations in Sacramento lead to a series of encounters with interesting characters. Political intrigue emerges during the investigations from the research and soping of Hatfield Gowdy, Matt's life-long friend, mentor, and social commentator. Matt's investigation concludes in dramatic mashion, and the conspiracy within a conspiracy becomes evident. As Matt returns from Sacramento to his home, he muses about the investigation and about what lies ahead in the relationship between him and his ex-wife Libby.
Ed Peoples is a professor emeritus of Criminal Justice at Santa Rosa Junior College, where he taught for twenty years, and he also taught eight years at San Jose State University. He has previously written and published four textbooks and two anthologies in the justice field. Now retired from teaching, Ed is devoting his creative efforts in developing the main characters in this novel into a series of detective and adventure stories for subsequent novels.