Joey O'Shay is not the real name of the undercover narcotics agent who works from a nondescript office in a city in the center of the country. But Joey O'Shay exists, as do the nearly three hundred takedowns he has orchestrated with imagination and obsessive precision, graduating from marijuana to speed to cocaine to Mexican black-tar heroin. He has never taken a hit, but the years have eroded his certainty about the meaning of his work and the purposes to which he's bent his unusual gift. Yet he remains a "predator's predator" who can't stop himself from setting in motion the next big big buy.
This time it's more than $50 million of high-grade Colombian heroin, in a transaction that penetrates to deep into the drug world that soon it has federal agents buzzing from Los Angeles to Washington, DC, to New York City. They listen in as the drama of supply and demand and desire that O'Shay has called into being gathers mass and momentum, landing hundreds of new leads in their laps. When they have had their fill, the bust goes down, in "a clatter of broken lives shattering when Joey O'Shay pulls the trapdoor under their dreams." And still O'Shay fights on, in a murky and unforgiving landscape thick with the shadows of those he has done deals with — and doomed.