In the autumn of 1944, George Starling prepares to exact revenge on the person he hates most in the world (and Starling has a long list of people he hates): Detective Joe Sable of the Melbourne Homicide division. Driven by his dark passion for Nazism, Starling is going to make sure that nothing and no one will stand in his way and survive. In the meantime, Homicide is in turmoil. Riven by internal divisions and disrupted by the war, it has become a dangerous place for Joe to work. Constable Helen Lord, suspended from her position in Homicide, and battling grief, is also in Starling's sights. Knowing that Inspector Titus Lambert can't protect them from Starling's ruthless aim, Helen and Joe decide to set their own trap. But when the trap is sprung, who will be caught in it?
Teddy Bentley, zookeeper at the Gunn Zoo, takes the zoo's llama to a Renaissance fair in the Monterey Bay area and discovers the body of the Reverend Victor Emerson. A close look reveals a crossbow dart in the man's back. The investigation reveals that the Reverend was an escaped convict, and Teddy's mother becomes the chief murder suspect.
1943: The newly formed Homicide division of the Victoria Police has been struggling to counter little-known fascist groups, particularly an organisation called Australia First that has been festering since before the war. And now there's an extra problem: the bitter divide between Catholics and Protestants, which is especially raw in small rural communities. Detective Joe Sable and Constable Helen Lord are working to track down the ruthless George Starling, who in turn is planning to wreak vengeance on them for the downfall of his nationalist group and mentor. At the same time, the duo is called to investigate a double murder in the fishing village of Port Fairy. The solution seems straightforward, but it soon becomes apparent that nothing about the incident is as it seems -- and that investigations which appeared unrelated are tied by a disturbing thread.
An exotic trip to Iceland puts Teddy the zookeeper in the middle of the murder case of a wealthy bird watcher. California zookeeper Theodora Bentley travels to Iceland to pick up an orphaned polar bear cub destined for the Gunn Zoo's newly installed Northern Climes exhibit. The trip is intended to be a combination of work and play. But on day two, while horseback riding near a picturesque seaside village, Teddy discovers a man lying atop a puffin burrow, shot through the head. The victim is identified as American bird watcher Simon Parr, winner of the largest Powerball payout in history. Is Teddy a witness -- or a suspect?