Detective Chief Inspector Billy McCartney discovers a headless corpse in the scrubland close to Liverpool docks. The slaying carries all the hallmarks of a gangland hit - a message from the underworld to snitches, cops and rival gangs. One mile away, a girl staggers into a run-down bar, dazed and confused. The bar's owner, a career criminal called Shakespeare, cannot get a word out of her. DCI McCartney is all too well aware that the clock is ticking. The body was one Kalan Rozaki, youngest brother of a notorious crime family - except Kalan is no criminal. For almost a year his brothers have been under full-time Drug Squad surveillance as McCartney slowly closed the net on their heroin trafficking. McCartney's chief informant on the case is someone with insider knowledge of the Rozaki clan's operation ...their newly deceased baby brother, Kalan. McCartney's investigation into Kalan's murder peels back layer after layer of a decades-long dynasty of drug smuggling. Each revelation plunges McCartney back into the dark heart of an unsolved drug crime that weighs heavy on his soul. He wants to catch the Rozakis - badly - but he wants the shadowy men behind their drug empire even more. The closer McCartney gets to Kalan's killer, the closer he comes to facing down a lifetime's torment.