It's been more than six months since her husband's brutal death, and Julia Ransom is just beginning to breathe again. She loved her husband, renowned psychic August Ransom, but the media frenzy that followed his murder sapped what little strength she had left. Now, after dinner with friends, strolling along San Francisco's Pier 39, she realizes that she's happy. Standing at the railing, she savors the sounds around her -- tourists, seals on a barge -- and for a moment enjoys the sheer normalcy of it all. And then it comes to an end. Out of nowhere she's approached by a respectable-looking man who distracts her with conversation before violently attacking her and throwing her toward the railing. If it hadn't been for Special Agent Cheney Stone, out to stretch his legs between courses at a local restaurant, Julia would have vanished into the bay's murky depths. Not only does he save her from a watery grave, but he senses a connection between her assault and her husband's death, and sets out to serve as her protector while reopening August Ransom's murder investigation.