Zookeeper Iris Oakley is sent to a remote farm in Washington State to rescue exotic animals after a drug bust. Outraged, she is determined to break the criminal pipeline that snatches rare animals from the wild and leaves them neglected in old barns. However, Iris stumbles upon a violent crime far too dangerous for a widow with a young son, and it's too late to untangle herself. She is determined to piece the puzzle together, but first she will have to confront a determined killer.
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.
Yanofsky's obsession with author Mordecai Richler leads him to consult a rabbi, a psychiatrist, a dream analyst, and his wife, in a quest to find the man in Richler's books and the man behind them. What starts as literary appreciation turns into literary stalking, asides about other writers, and a walking tour of Richler's old neighbourhood.