All ex-con Corey Logan wants to do is regain custody of her fifteen-year-old son, Billy, and begin to construct a “normal” life with him, a life that includes spending a lot of time on her old wooden boat, the Jenny Ann, which currently lies at anchor in front of her tiny cabin on Bainbridge Island off the coast of Seattle.
It sounds simple enough, particularly since she was framed for the crime—selling drugs—for which she’s just served almost two years. But reclaiming Billy involves convincing a court-approved psychiatrist that she’s a fit parent. More crucially, it requires her to evade the clutches of Nick Season, the man who framed her, murdered Billy’s father, and tried to have Corey killed while she was in prison. Starting out as a street hustler and gigolo, the lethally charming Nick has worked his way through the Los Angeles and Seattle police departments and law school to become a leading contender for the state office of attorney general. Corey is the one person who might imperil his political ambitions, the only one who knows him for who he really is. This is the push and pull that keeps the story in motion. Nick can’t simply have Corey killed now that she’s out without drawing attention to himself. She can’t turn him in, given his political power, without the risk of endangering or losing Billy.
Further locking these two antagonists together is the fact that Corey’s psychiatrist, Abe Stein, is the son of political power broker Jesse Stein, who’s pushing Nick’s candidacy while simultaneously enjoying his sexual prowess. Corey’s impulse, which Abe persistently thwarts, is to seize Billy from his group home, stow him on her boat, and flee to Canada. Nick would be happy for her to do this, knowing that in violating the terms of her probation she would, if captured, be sent back to jail and thus effectively neutralized. The showdown comes when Corey and Billy eventually do flee northward—with one of Nick’s hired killers in pursuit. But Corey proves to be as dogged and resourceful as Nick is cunning.
The author has an insider’s knowledge of Seattle and the vast waters and mountain ranges surrounding it. His lyrical descriptions of these natural wonders, as well as of the city’s distinct architecture, posh restaurants, sleazy danger zones, and ferry traffic add a cinematic dimension to a narrative that is relentlessly taut and exciting.