If there is such a thing as a fate worse than death, Joe Tree found it. Sentenced to the subhuman hell of Florida’s state prison in Raiford, for a murder he didn’t commit. With the wife he worships cheering on the prosecution and then deserting him to marry the man who sent him up. And his long-coveted freedom day only brings more heartbreak when he returns to Tampa Bay after surviving twelve years on the concrete.
The gold he stashed to finance a fresh start has disappeared, the friend he trusted it to long dead, and the answers lie buried beneath the dirty secrets of a onetime rival’s success and the truth of why an old friend who married a fortune needs him dead or back in prison to keep it. Meanwhile, a soured cop hungers for an opportunity to muscle in on a lucrative blackmail racket, if he can just find a suitable lowlife to frame for the killings. The two searches collide, and the bodies start falling.
Prime suspect in a murder once again, this time Joe scrambles to nail the killer before the law hangs another one on him. And as each layer of deceit he scrapes away from the past reveals more and more of the treachery that stole his life, his hunt for gold becomes a quest for vindication. But to get his shot at that bittersweet justice, he must gamble everything—the gold, his freedom, and ultimately his life—on the heart of a beautiful attorney who just may be playing for the other side.