Curiosity killed the cat, and it may kill travel writer Frank Dodge, too. Dodge and his buddy, homicide detective Brian Jefferson, have a fascination with gangsters. Dodge gets a tip that a student in Davenport, Iowa, named Miguel Ramirez could be the last surviving descendant of a long-dead gangster named John Looney. Dodge, disgruntled and desperate for a story, concocts a plan to meet the man.
When Ramirez is found floating in the Mississippi River, Dodge finds himself without a story and wondering if he's next. As Dodge and Jefferson go over the unnerving events of the night Ramirez died, clues about his death will come from an unlikely source: the victims of gangster John Looney. Can Dodge put the pieces together in time, or will he be another victim of Looney's legacy of vengeance?