With his love life falling apart, a chance encounter with a beautiful woman leads reporter Clay "call me Thorne" Hawthorne to a new investigation of a sensational subject: sex trafficking. He becomes aware of the global multi-billion-dollar industry of human trafficking that steals for profit the freedom of millions of victims. Its tentacles reach into every corner of the United States. And to Kentucky.
In the Bluegrass state arrests of restaurant or other business owners for using forced labor in inhumane conditions are common. Too often individuals are arrested for what social workers call "family pimping."
But Thorne wants to expose the bigger business of sex trafficking that coerces hundreds of women and girls into a modern form of slavery.
His inquiries lead him into conflict with a racist motorcycle gang as he focuses on erotic massage parlors, over ten thousand in the U.S. and hundreds in Kentucky. White nationalist OMGs, Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs, increasing in number, become part of his investigation.
Thorne discovers that sex-trafficking, from high-class escort services to local rings in small towns to the strings of massage parlors, is "hiding in plain sight." But exposing the extensive criminal networks that operate strings of parlors proves difficult and dangerous. He enlists the reluctant help of a former escort, a beautiful, mysterious woman with a past she wants to forget.
Meanwhile, white nationalist militias and Nazis are recruiting in Kentucky and prompted by their deluded conspiracy theories, have targeted his newspaper, the Bluegrass Herald as an enemy of white supremacy. After an attack on the paper's building and a series of threating emails, Thorne takes action.