Friends at Michael Mohr's wake chitchat about the bitter rivalries in Silicon Valley, IPOs, absent friends, and two men, old friends of Michael's, who also died recently.
Cassandra (Case) Andrews is shaken to hear the news.
Michael and both men hiked every summer with Barry, her late husband. They were all on the Long Hike, an annual hike into the Sierra's Desolation Wilderness, with Barry the summer before last when he died.
Of the twelve people on that hike, four are dead. That Cassandra knows of.
Investigators told her Barry became dehydrated and lost his balance, falling into a ravine. No one had seen him fall. Police investigating Michael's solo car accident seem intent on blaming it on drugs or booze, even though Michael recently earned his twelve-month AA pin. Troy died in a house fire. Glenn died in a boating accident.
Or did they? No one witnessed any of the deaths.
Cassandra is the go-to Web sleuth for Silicon Valley movers-and-shakers and their companies. Convinced something is amiss, she decides to tap into the Web and use her connections to track down the truth, to either confirm the deaths were accidents or find who is responsible.
Is she just imagining things or is there a killer loose? Could the killer be a friend, part of their circle?
Someone is not happy with her new project. Someone is determined to stop her sleuthing, even if that means Cassandra must be the fifth friend to die.
This is just a setup for the novel. It's backstory. There's no antagonist. No stakes.