Friday 31 December, 1999. In the early hours of the morning in a luxury central Leeds penthouse, intruders douse a terrified victim with petrol, set him alight and throw him burning from the ninth floor roof garden. DS Pete Bains is on night duty with CID when the call comes in. The body is quickly identified as Nicholas Hanley, a wealthy property developer, but Bains' attempts to pull together an enquiry stall when he cannot locate Hanley's lover, Anna Hart. Unknown to Bains, Hart and her daughter are less than five miles away, kidnapped at gunpoint and struggling to stay alive.
Meanwhile, the security services are looking for DC Karen Sharpe. Eighteen months ago she walked out on Bains without a word of explanation. Now she has disappeared for real. What Sharpe has been doing not only connects her to Hanley's death, but has placed her at the disposal of men for whom human life means nothing. The danger is greater than anything she has faced before. If she cannot pull her shattered personality together, the last day of the millennium will be the last day of her life.