We are in the California desert above Lake Elsinore; the remains of Terry Randall and his wife Susan are lying in the dust and grit. Susan's right hand is missing. The initial verdict is that Terry killed Susan and then himself, using the shotgun which rests at his feet. The putative cause is post-traumatic stress disorder. Terry has recently returned from Iraq. The branch bank of AmeriCal Savings which he previously managed has been closed and he has been working for a wine distributorship called FirstGrowth. Susan's mother and Terry's parents deny that murder and suicide could even be considered as remote possibilities. Lieutenant Tom Deaton investigates, entering overlapping worlds of wine connoisseurship, espionage, rapacious business dealings and extreme violence.
The fourth in the Tom Deaton series, Death Whispers is a tale of intellection and detection set in Laguna Beach, Los Angeles, northern Virginia and the District of Columbia. It features the ensemble cast members who have appeared in the previous Tom Deaton novels, taking them to the narrow border separating justice from violent revenge.