Rocco Klein, veteran homicide detective, has had enough of life on the edge. When a warm summer night brings yet another drug-related murder, he has no sense that the case is anything special. A young black man steps forward to confess but a little digging reveals that he's never been in any kind of trouble, whereas his half-brother, Strike, runs a crew of street-corner coke dealers 'clockers' in a nearby housing project. Soon Rocco is sure that Strike is the real killer and suddenly Rocco's appetite for the job is back. With a vengeance.