When an IRS agent is poisoned, Jill Smith faces a murder case in which dozens of California taxpayers are suspects
IRS agent Philip Drem is found face down in People's Park, a haven of drug addicts and streetwalkers in the heart of liberal, eccentric Berkeley, California. By the time homicide detective Jill Smith arrives on the scene, Drem's wallet is gone and the tax collector is near death. The method of attack is as uncommonly cruel as the IRS agent himself.
After his death, Jill goes through Drem's files in search of those whose lives he made miserable. An exercise guru, a bankrupt small business owner, and a hippie sculptor are all possible suspects, but as she researches the dead man she finds that the pain of filling out a 1040 might not be the only motive for murder.