Harlan Donnally was a former San Francisco Police Dept. detective who was retired on a disability after being shot on the job.
At the start of the story, he promises a dying friend to find his friend's younger sister, who his friend placed in a home when she was age five. Tragically, Harlan finds that the girl, Anna, was murdered years ago and her alleged killer, Charles Brown, was never prosecuted due to being incompetent.
As Donnally continues to search for answers, he finds that there are people who would like to keep Anna's killing closed and prevent him from finding the answers. However, he persists. He needs to find out what happened in the 1970s in the Berkley community with the anti government, anti war movement.
Donnelly feels that he's on a mission to help his deceased friend who thought he was leaving his little sister in safety only to have her killed and no one punished for the crime.
Donnally is able to locate the alleged killer, Charles Brown, and bring him to court only to have someone hire a wealthy attorney claiming that Brown is the real victim. This makes Donnelly wonder if someone else is hiding behind the incompetent man's craziness.
We learn more of Donnelly's past and realize what motivates him in this search for the truth. His search takes him to places that neither the reader nor Donnelly could have foreseen. This freshness in plot is dramatically described and we see Donnelly as the type of investigator who doesn't give up and employs some creative measures to get answers and deliver justice that has been a long time in being served.
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