Private Eye V.I. Warshawski is roused one morning by an SOS from a woman on a farm south of Chicago. When V.I. gets there, she finds no woman - but a dead man in a cornfield, his body savagely mutilated. V.I. is happy to leave the case to the local sheriff: it looks like a falling out among meth dealers. But back in Chicago, she learns that the missing woman is a protegee of her oldest friend and confidante, Dr Lotty Herschel, and is compelled to investigate. What V.I. uncovers pulls her into a world of nuclear secrets and high-stakes computing, with roots reaching back to the Second World War. The detective soon finds herself in a hall of mirrors where she can't tell reality from video games, and her life is on the line. For V.I., this is her most profound, and terrifying, adventure yet ...