Five grand for a couple of hours' work? That's what nightclub owner Roy Fowler's offering ex-mercenary Max Iversson to act as security for a meeting he's having with the 'businessmen' who are supposedly buying his club. But when they turn up at the deserted north London industrial estate where the meeting's taking place, things go wrong and three men end up dead, including two of Iversson's colleagues. Now he wants to know who's behind the killings. Detective Sergeant John Gallan is also looking for answers. He's investigating the fatal poisoning by snakebite of a doorman from Fowler's club. Lead are scarce and when they do appear so do bodies. But Gallan keeps digging away, unearthing in the process a murderous conspiracy spanning this investigation and another, more heinous murder that's been shelved, unsolved, for a long time.