DS George Toolan is injured when he and DI Frost prevent a young man's suicide attempt. According to Mullet, Frost seems to have broken even more regulations. Frost's troubles increase when a brutal murder is committed and the local priest is found covered in the victim's blood at the scene of the crime. The manner of the ritualistic killing seems to mirror an earlier case in another force's area. Frost brings in DS Sharpe from that investigation to help with his own. Toolan's injuries become critical and Toolan's wife believes Frost's carelessness may cost his trusted Sergeant his life.
The murdered woman's family are antagonistic towards the murdered woman's ex-lover, but in Frost's mind, the priest is implicated somewhere along the line and family member are also hiding something. Are they involved in the woman's death? The nature of the murder demands additional help and the Chief Constable insists a forensic psychologist joins Frost. It doesn't take Frost long to realise that Dr Martine Phillips has a hidden agenda that's going to cause problems for someone on the team, but he can't deny that the psychologist has pinpointed that they have a serial killer at work.
Now the clock is ticking… the killer strikes again. The killer is clever, leaving no forensic evidence, but there is one mistake that Frost uncovers and it is a vital clue as to the identity of the killer and where he might strike again. Frost has to find and trap him.
Toolan's life is in the balance and the ambitious Martine Phillips becomes a target. The serial killer seems to be outwitting the police. In a desperate gamble to stop another vicious murder, Frost risks everything and when he finally corners the murderer, his own life is on the line.