When the director of a Long Island zoo is murdered by snake venom, Kristy Farrell—former English teacher turned wildlife reporter—takes a personal interest in the case because her brother Tim, the zoo’s curator in charge of reptiles, is the leading suspect.
Believing that the killer is one of her brother’s colleagues, Kristy investigates the internal politics and personal relationships at the zoo. As she delves into each suspect’s life, she uncovers weak alibis and powerful motives, including greed, blackmail, infidelity, and revenge. The trail leads her to a Greenwich Village pet store with a shady history, a radical animal rights group, a wildlife art exhibit on Long Island’s infamous “gold coast,” and a bizarre animal auction in rural Ohio where just about anything—dead or alive—can be purchased for the right price.
Meanwhile, the zoo is plagued with accidents, a second murder occurs, and then Kristy’s life is threatened. With everyone’s nerves on edge, Kristy races to find the truth… before the killer strikes again.