Jake Maxwell is a midcareer attorney living in Sacramento, California, whose life has been turned upside-down. His wife has left him and his employer, Farmstead Insurance, is being rocked by a major corporate takeover engineered by a shadowy private equity firm, Black Belt Capital, Ltd. About the only things keeping Jake on the rails are the time he spends with his border collie, Elwood, and the opportunities he has to spend a few hours fishing in the course of his many out-of-town business trips. Things start to improve when he meets and falls for Meg Vann, one of his coworkers. When a resort property insured with Farmstead burns down and the body of a man is discovered in the charred ruins, Meg begins to suspect that the fire was no accident. Jake is initially skeptical, but as he and Meg dig into clues from Sacramento to Meg's hometown of Eureka, California, it appears that Black Belt Capital, Ltd. is setting up an insurance fraud of epic proportions, threatening Farmstead's solvency. Fighting corporate resistance and government inertia, Meg and Jake have to rely on the wits of their coworkers and Meg's Eureka contacts to put the puzzle together and prevent the disastrous loss.