Sam Sawyer is a fishing guide and part-time sleuth living in the Florida Keys. He escaped a floundering academic career to realize his childhood dream of becoming a guide. But it has come at a heavy price, because his wife and colleague has chosen to remain behind in the halls of ivy. They see each other all too rarely, and lately, things have gotten decidedly chilly.
Sam’s life takes an unexpected turn when he discovers a pair of shoes lying next to a huge crocodile on a sandy bank deep in the everglades, and somebody’s feet are in the shoes. Sam discovers they belonged to a woman called Mable who lived reclusively on an isolated key in Florida Bay.
But how did her shoes and feet end up back in the glades, and who was responsible? Was it the looter of Native American artifacts from a shell mound on the key or the unscrupulous owner of a pet store in Miami who had been poaching crocodiles?
Then, Sam discovers a small population of a rare bird on the key. There are rumors some powerful people have a big development planned for Mable’s key, and discovery of the endangered bird could put all that in jeopardy.
Before Sam’s life can return to anything like normal, he must find out who killed Mable, and at the same time decide if and how he can rescue a personal life that seems to be running up on the rocks.