Alex Cross's first case since joining the FBI has his new colleagues perplexed. Across the country, men and women are kidnapped in broad daylight and then disappear completely. These people are not being taken for ransom, Alex realizes. They are being bought and sold. And it seems The Wolf is the master criminal behind this terrible trade and who is bringing a new reign of terror to organized crime.
Even as he admires the FBI's vast resources, Alex is impatient with the Bureau's clumsiness and caution when it is time to move. A lone wolf himself, he has to go out alone to track his new prey and try to rescue some of the victims while they are still alive. As the case boils over, Alex is in hot water at home, too. His ex-fiancée, Christine Johnson, comes back into his life - and not for the reasons Alex might have hoped.