Whenever the word Aphrodite is whispered somebody dies. The victims never know what it meant: is it a person, a product, a code word - what? And why is keeping its meaning secret, so important?
Justin Westwood has retreated from reality by taking a menial post with the police department in Long Island. Mindless traffic duty and a lot of booze stop him reliving the past, but his dormant professionalism is reluctantly awakened when he realises that the death of a young journalist is deliberate, not accidental.
Retracing the woman's movements in the hours before her death, Justin learns she's been in trouble for quoting some erroneous facts in an obituary of a man who had been living in the local old people's home. Not the sort of mistake which normally brings a duo of professional hitmen to the door of a fallible reporter, and certainly not one which brings the FBI into town.
As Justin attempts to unravel the puzzle, he finds someone is a step ahead of him, disposing of witnesses and setting him up for the rap. Realising he has to face real life at its starkest if he is to survive, he goes solo - and finds himself at the centre of one of the greatest conspiracies of his time.