At sixteen, Kelly Ramsey has a perfect life, adored by her wealthy parents, popular at school, big heart, big smile, a golden girl who has everything to live for, a successful life mapped out with no dark clouds on the horizon. However, failing to return from her school leaver's prom, throws the lives of those closest to her under a microscope.
Marshall Brooks was not made this way, the doctor says he is ill, yet people still cross the road when they see him shuffling towards them. Young mothers grasp the hands of their children, as if afraid he will spirit them away. When all he wants is to be left alone to pursue his hobby, like his councillor says, everyone should have a hobby. He knows Kelly Ramsey, has watched her from a distance, marvelled at her innocent beauty, pried unseen into her rarefied world. Though he would never harm her, he would never harm any of his girls; even he knows that would be wrong.
As the search unfolds, DS Lasser finds out those closest to her have secrets of their own, that living a life of privilege can come at a price that is impossible to pay. He is met with people who have their own agendas as he tries to uncover the truth amid a web of lies and illusion. From the deputy head of Kelly's exclusive school, to the stepfather of Rachael Sinclair, a girl who claims to be Kelly's closest friend, all seem reluctant to help, all have hidden pasts.
Difficult enough, but Lasser's boss knows the Ramsey family, has close ties, making it impossible for him to concentrate on the job. The pressure mounts and DCI Bannister goes into meltdown; Lasser realising he is on his own. When the body of a girl is discovered, it is apparent that someone is determined to keep those secrets buried.
As time runs out and Lasser battles to uncover the truth, he makes discoveries that shock him to the core, and learns that even tainted blood is thicker than water.