A girl has been found dead, seemingly strangled, in the hotel room of movie star Jumbo Nelson. Jumbo's lawyers want Spenser to find out whether Jumbo did it - not because they care either way, but because the knowledge will help them work out how to block his conviction. Jumbo is a sufficiently repulsive individual that Spenser finds it hard to contain his distaste. And then there is his bodyguard, Zebulon Sixkill, a Cree Indian who squandered his pro-football career thanks to an inability to control his temper, and turned his attentions to alcohol instead. Also involved in Jumbo's case for reasons that remain unclear is a cold-blooded assassin who just might be the most dangerous enemy Spenser has faced yet. But if he can persuade Sixkill to turn his life around, Spenser might just have the ally he needs...