Why would a man risk his life for a mother who abandoned him as an infant? Yet when Doug Sutherland is passed a scrawled note by a mortally-wounded Mexican, he’s forced to overcome his resentment and related phobias to rescue her, recover a priceless pre-Hispanic artifact, and battle a ruthless smuggler to save himself.
For Sutherland, a young Chicago entrepreneur, the dying man’s note is meaningless and the warning that his Mexican mother is in danger presents a quandary. Even if true, why should he care? She deserted him thirty years earlier under suspicious circumstances. Besides, his life is already complicated by his love life, deadlines for his real estate project, and debilitating nightmares. In his dreams, he’s stalked by a “burning man,” trapped in a small space, and thrown into an icy water grave, images he associates with his phobias, his mother, and her disappearance from his life.
He tries to convince himself that the message was meant for someone else. But then his apartment is invaded, he receives threatening calls from a Mexican smuggler, the police accuse him of drug dealing, and a DEA agent harasses him. Sucked into a maelstrom, he must fight or become another victim.