John Reimer, a Mennonite preacher in Lakeview, Chicago, might be on the downslope of his ministerial career. At least that's how he feels most days. Then one morning in March a hungover waitress at the Melrose diner tells him to look into the murder of a bike messenger at North Pond--and begs him to keep the cops out of it. Before too long Reimer is making tracks through Chicago, asking a lot of questions, and leaving many people uncomfortable.
Reimer encounters a menagerie of characters in his beloved city--among them a brooding detective who trusts Reimer's instincts; a Moody Bible Institute drop-out trying to stay on his antipsychotic medication; a charismatic alderman; and the church moderator, Nancy Huefflinger, an attorney who knows when to swagger and when to turn on the charm. Complicating things is Reimer's despair for his wife Vi, in hospice with an incurable neurological disease, and whose condition has shaken his faith to the core. When Reimer figures out that whoever killed the young man at North Pond is coming after him, too, he must summon all his inner resources--including some he didn't learn in seminary--if he wants to survive.