The hospice team in a small town reports that patients have sustained unusual radiation burns. Injuries crater through the skin and penetrate pelvic organs. Only women suffer and only one physician is responsible. The hospital denies the problem and physicians support the administrator and the institution. They argue that the hospice women are excitable and incapable of understanding the consequences of battling deadly diseases. Small towns protect forgive their their institutions like eccentric aunts or a failing grandfather.The town of Zima, on Washington's Pacific Coast, enters the battle on the side of the institution. The Russian immigrant community demonizes the hospice nurse. One of their patriarchs threatens herand her family. The doctor, Vincent Brasco, damages his women patients with a machine that generates twenty million electron volts of energy. He wins support with an engaging smile and a powerful presence. His technical staff admires him as a brilliant scientist with the strength and convictions that he brought home from serving as a marine in Afghanistan. Brasco typifies the the four or five percent of sociopaths and the occasional psychopath who hold a medical license. He charms patients and the media with skillful manipulation. Brasco meets a wall in the form of a five-foot tall nurse. She heads the hospice program, and attacks problems with enthusiasm inherited from her Sicilian grandfather. Her husband, a black man with cream-in-the-coffee skin, urges her to back off. He practices pathology and learned the value of keeping his mouth shut. They have two daughters who need their support and he has a troubled past that forced him into small-town medicine. Action and danger extend to a medical clinic in Afghanistan, where one of their daughters runs a school for girls. Social media and the Taliban make her a bargaining chip in her mother's fight. A second front in the battle involves the younger daughter and Seattle's homeless community. The murder of one of Brasco's patients points suspicion at him. Facts support the suspicions. Seattle's high-tech community competes with the power of a Chicago law firm. The prosecution enters a virtual autopsy as evidence. The defense is managed by Bela Silber, a woman who doesn't lose cases. Conspiracy follows the guidelines of 500 year old concept.