A nagging conscience makes V.I. Warshawski agree to fill in as coach for the girls' basketball team at her South Side alma mater-which in turn leads her to the headquarters of By-Smart, the global retail empire where V.I. hopes to get some desperately needed funds for the struggling squad. But conscience seems to be in short supply at By-Smart...with the exception of Billy Bysen. He's the earnest teenage grandson of the chain's gruff, tight-fisted founder. And when Billy disappears-along with a mysterious document much desired by By-Smart's management team-V.I. is hurled onto a twisted, body-strewn path that runs through Chicago's dirtiest places, and reveals some of its dirtiest secrets.