A man's body is found in the unforgiving New Mexico desert, his face so smashed that identification is impossible. It's the beginning of a brutal murder spree that will soon take Posadas County's new undersheriff, Estelle Reyes-Guzman, into a case that has roots on both sides of the border. With retired Sheriff Bill Gastner -- now a livestock inspector for the state -- still close at hand to offer unerring logic and horse sense, Reyes-Guzman attempts to identify the "Juan" Doe. Another body turns up in a shallow grave, revealing little about the killer, but more about the victims. And when a suspicious fire takes a third life, the terrible twist finally offers the break Estelle has been looking for, one that will lead her back into a harsh, merciless desert where death welcomes all.