Kylie Preston is out for a night of fun with The Liberated Wives Club, a group of close friends who have not only survived divorce but also thrived in its wake. Kylie encounters a stranger who charms her into going home with him. The next day, Kylie Preston’s body is discovered in a stolen car, dissected and preserved in ice chests. When Portland Homicide finds themselves at a dead end, Carl Wheaton, a dear friend and colleague of the deceased, implores C. J. Cavanaugh to investigate on behalf of Lunsford Insurance. C. J. cannot say no to his friend. During the course of his investigation of the deranged killer the press has dubbed “The Butcher,” more bodies turn up mutilated in precisely the same manner as the deceased Vice-President of Acquisitions for Lunsford Insurance. Each grisly discovery intensifies the race to capture The Butcher before he strikes again.