"I thought I'd never see her again. But never is longer than forever". She is book editor Louise Starr, a beautiful and scheming ghost from Amos Walker's past; and she wants the Detroit private eye to find a missing paperback writer from the 1950s and ask him why he turned down his first book contract in 40 years. "You're perfect for the job", Louise says. "You're the kind of detective Booth wrote about; the kind they say doesn't exist in real life". Eugene Booth's trail leads to a rustic motel cabin, where the crusty old pro is hammering out his first novel in decades on a battered Smith-Corona with a case of bourbon for inspiration. But when the writer winds up hanging from his own belt, Walker must discover the connection between the apparent suicide, the murder of Booth's wife 40 years before -- and a deadly secret as old as World War II.