Black is back. Willie Black was last seen, in Oregon Hill, risking the final tattered remnants of his checkered career - and his life - to free a man almost everyone else believed guilty. Willie's still covering the night police beat with its violent drug deals and dirt naps, still avoiding the hawk that periodically swoops down to pluck away a few more of his colleagues in a floundering business. He still drinks too much, smokes too much, and disobeys too much. The only thing that keeps him employed is that he's a damn fine reporter. Even his beleaguered bosses would concede that.
Willie finds himself neck-deep in a part of Richmond that a boy growing up in Oregon Hill could only experience through illicit midnight sorties to the city's most exclusive swimming hole. The Quarry was where Alicia Parker Simpson identified Richard Slade as her rapist 28 years ago. Five days after DNA evidence recently freed Slade from the prison system in which he had spent his adult life, Alicia Simpson was found shot to death.
Almost everyone thinks Slade did it - who can blame them? - but Willie has his doubts. And when the full weight of the city's old money falls on him, trying to crush the story, he becomes even more determined to chase the thing that always seems to get him into trouble: the truth. That Richard Slade is his cousin and a link to his long-dead African American father only makes Willie that much more tenacious.
In the end Willie will be drawn back to the Philadelphia Quarry, where it all started so long agoand in whose murky waters the truth lies.