Hamburg psychiatrist Dr. Johannes “Joe” Jessen can’t believe his ears when he receives a desperate call from Vincent Ruiz – the very detective who just a few months ago wanted to convict him of the murder of two young women.
But Ruiz is in serious trouble. A few days ago, he was shot and fished unconscious out of the Elbe River, and was temporarily in a coma. Meanwhile, it is assumed that he must have fallen from a cutter that was drifting unmanned on the Elbe. Bullet holes and traces of blood were found on the cutter itself, suggesting that at least three people were injured – one of them Ruiz. The only problem is that Ruiz has no memory of the night in question, and the uncertainty is driving him almost insane. In his distress, he now clings not only to soothing morphine pills, but also to the hope that the very man he himself was hunting not so long ago can help him: Joe Jessen.
Together with the young policewoman Anna Bartholomé, Joe Jessen begins to piece together the puzzle of Ruiz’s memory fragments. In the process, the psychiatrist delves not only into Ruiz’s dark past, but also into an old, unsolved case that has stuck with Ruiz to this day: a missing girl who was allegedly the victim of a murder, but whose body was never found.
Is this child the answer to the question of what Ruiz was doing on the freighter in the middle of the night? Had he detected a sign of life from the little girl and followed the trail? Joe and Ruiz’s search for the truth ultimately costs Ruiz not only his job, but nearly Anna’s life. Because whatever it is that connects Ruiz to the two dead men on the ship, it’s worth a lot to someone to keep the secret under wraps forever….