How much do you owe a past love? Ever wonder about it? Private Detective Ron Shade does when he bumps into his former lover, Paula Kittermann, late one lonely December night in a hotel bar. Paula had once been a major factor in Shade s life, but that was a very long time ago. Against his better judgement, he lets her back in, but when she s gone, without so much as a goodbye kiss, leaving him once with only bittersweet memories of what might have been. Then Paula turns up dead, the apparent victim of a hit-and-run accident. Though shocked, Shade moves on with his life until Paula s young cousin, Laurie, shows up in Chicago, asking him to look into the matter. Shade s investigation takes a walk on the seedy side, and begins to attract the attention of some very powerful enemies. But whenever Shade gets close to the truth, somebody seems to end up dead, and he suddenly finds himself the prime suspect in a homicide investigation. Working to clear himself and find out who killed Paula, Shade goes up against some redoubtable foes who will stop at nothing to ensure his search for the truth won t be completed.