Herman Jackson chose St. Paul as his place of permanent exile from Detroit after his former life as a bookie got too hot. Now he leads a respectable, low-profile life as a bail bondsman, selling second chances to losers and looking over his shoulder. When a young woman named Amy Cox leaves Jackson a priceless antique violin as security for her brother's bail bond, it's really the beginning of an elaborate con game. But the game has barely begun when she is murdered in front of Jackson's office. And for reasons that make no sense, the police are calling him the prime suspect... unless he gives them the violin as evidence. With his criminal past, Jackson can't afford to be a prime suspect for jaywalking. But he is also not prepared to give in to extortion. Soon he is on the run, trying to solve Amy Cox's murder, pursued by one real and one crooked cop, a band of urban Gypsies, and an unknown killer who also wants Jackson dead. Then the violin, reputed to carry a 400-year-old curse, takes on a life of its own.