The discovery of a headless corpse on the rocks below the cliffs on the Isle of Wight is only the beginning of a journey for DI Joe Faraday. It's a journey which takes him right to the heart of the grim trade in human cargo from the crippled societies of the Balkans. From cheap labour to prostitution, Portsmouth, like every other city in the UK is home to untold human misery; a black economy built on illegal immigration. Joe Faraday is determined to find the real criminals that lie behind the tabloid hysteria. DC Paul Winter on the other hand is determined only to find a way out of the disciplinary action that threatens his entire career. A burgeoning relationship with a young prostitute isn't exactly helping his cause. And for Winter, it's beginning to look as if time is running out...