San Diego defense attorney Paul Madriani is still reeling from the trauma of a near nuclear explosion he helped avert at the naval base in Coronado. Threatened by federal authorities to keep quiet about the close call in California, Madriani is now faced with a new problem in the steely-eyed and alluring Joselyn Cole, a weapons control expert, who believes he has to go public with what he knows if they have any hope of stopping a similar event in the future. But Madriani has been linked to a murder of a Washington, D.C. political staffer, and authorities believe a shadowy figure called Liquida - a hired assassin known as 'the Mexicutioner' - may be responsible. And this man, as the last survivor of the attack in San Diego, might be driven by a bizarre and horrifying, star-crossed vendetta and might now be looking for Madriani himself. What Madriani and Cole begin to fear is that this madman has joined forces with a demented former radical known as the Old Weatherman, who intends to pull the city - and the country - into a vortex of terror before Madriani and Cole can find answers to the enigma that is 'the rule of nine.'