After years overseas working on ethically questionable projects for the three-letter agencies in Washington, and then more years working as a New York cop on drug enforcement in the ghetto, Mac MacQuarrie has moved to South Florida and settled into a comfortable retirement by taking up wordworking as a hobby. He's settled, at least, until one of his old agency contacts tracks him down and recruits him for a state-side job.

Someone, it appears, has gone to the trouble of assembling a list of the locations of all of the nation's Special Nuclear Material—the stuff of nuclear weapons—and to make matters worse the list seems to have been copied and sent to people whose sympathies lie with al-Qaeda. Mac's long experience with operations in the Middle East makes him a natural, so he's lured out of retirement by the prospect of easy money and a little excitement.

But when the list gets put to use and enough radionuclides are stolen to create an atomic bomb—or, perhaps worse, several dirty bombs—Mac finds himself involved in something more than he bargained for.

Meanwhile, he also finds himself involved with a Miami Beach hooker he's met on the case. She's finally ready for a career change, but her pimps won't take kindly to the loss of the income she generates. In helping her out, Mac discovers his career skills are useful for more than just advancing U.S. government policy overseas.