Lola Dakota had to call in the police several times to restrain her abusive husband, but he always returned, so when they got wind of his plan to hire a hitman to kill her she agrees to play her part in the sting which would see both men arrested. It proves to be a great success, but several hours later and when her husband is under lock and key, Lola is truly dead -and by someone's hand. The police team on the original sting are in disarray, so Alex Cooper and Mike Chapman are swiftly in place to take over. Looking beyond her husband into her professional life, they discover a university department riddled with jealousies, extra-marital affairs, swindled funds and the unexplained disappearance of a student known to be a drug user. The one thing which seems to link all the players with all the misdemeanours is the university's research site on an island off Manhattan where they were investigating the remains of the Victorian isolation hospitals and lunatic asylums and the morgue – the deadhouse. But why Lola's murder is connected to the place is not so easy to prove, nor the identity of her killer.