On one of the coldest nights in Minnesota history, the difference between life and death is literally the blink of an eye for Phil Broker, until recently St. Paul's most successful undercover cop. That blink will convey the urgent warning of a comatose man who knows the dark truth binding Broker to a remarkable cast of characters -- a weary anesthesiologist, a brilliant surgeon, a wealthy novelist, his ex-wife (a reformed exotic dancer) and her unrepentant pimp. For Broker it all began when he agreed to take three big-city professionals on a canoeing trip across Minnesota's most remote lakes. One of the three is horribly injured in a freak October blizzard, and Broker embarks on a white-knuckle rescue against time and the elements, ending with a writer in a coma and his accountant dead. Suspicious of foul play, Broker follows a twisted trail of manipulation and revenge that leads back to the writer's beautiful wife -- and a ring of men caught in a deadly competition for her affections.