Earl Brooks is a well respected businessman in Portland, Oregon. Seemingly, the biggest issue in his life is the unexpected return of his spoiled daughter, Jane Brooks, from her freshman year in college, she who states she is dropping out but who he knows has another reason for her return. But the biggest issue in his life is that he is a serial killer, his targets always young couples in the act of making love. He is coined the Thumbprint Killer because he leaves thumbprints of the victims at the scene using their own blood. Earl knows he has a problem, the urge to kill a compulsion. He is constantly being egged on by a voice in his head he calls Marshall, the two who negotiate the murders. The only thing that he has been able to do to manage his "addiction" as he believes it to be is to attend AA meetings, which resulted in two years between his latest sets of murders. Detective Tracy Atwood is the lead police investigator, she who is going through her own problems. She, an heiress worth $60 million, is currently going through a messy divorce, her philandering husband who is demanding millions in the settlement. His and his lawyer's contention is that the settlement is for emotional distress due to her job, especially as Thorton Meeks, a violent criminal she put behind bars, has recently escaped, vowing revenge. As Tracy decides how to handle her divorce which could place her current cases in jeopardy, Earl has his own emerging problems. First, he is being blackmailed by a man calling himself Mr. Smith, who has photographic evidence of Earl being the Thumbprint Killer. And second, he eventually learns of the real reason why Jane returned home. These two issues, plus learning whatever he can about Tracy, lead to what he considers the best decision for his life, taking in part social good.