A young ex-con named Louis Harper steals from his boss, John Brady. Brady hires Spenser to prove it and Harper hires Hawk to protect him from leg-breakers. Spenser and Hawk team up to solve Louis' murder.
Spenser tries to protect a former Russian ballerina, when she hires him to help her find stolen papers, but he gets more than he bargained for once he discovers that she is a person of interest to dueling government agents employed by American and Russian forces.
Spenser is going skiing with Susan, but when he picks her up at Smithfield High School where she works, he finds out one of her students died of a heroin overdose. Spenser gets hired by the superintendent and goes undercover as a teacher at her school to find out where the drugs are coming from. He obviously gets into it with the dealers.
Spenser needing to get over Susan's departure takes a job that takes him out of town. A woman whose husband's a fisherman who died recently, needs his help because another family who wants to shut them is causing them problems. And her young son just wants to get back at them.
Spenser has just relocated and out of no where, former clients are accusing of trying to shake them down. Spenser is oblivious to what they are talking about. Later a D.A. is threatening to take action against him.
When Hawk goes to check on the boxer he owns, he is arrested. So Spenser goes there to try and figure out what is going on. They discover that it might have something to do with a man who is running for public office whom Hawk met a few years ago.
A young man is found floating in the water. When he wakes up, he claims to have no memory of who he is. Spenser tries to help him. Later, he becomes the prime suspect in a murder. But he claims he can't be a killer.