Recuperating in hospital from a near-fatal gunshot wound, P.I. John Marshall Tanner meets Rita Lombardi, a fellow patient recovering from life-changing surgery. Struggling with a deep depression, Tanner finds a friend and confidante in Rita.When Rita leaves the hospital, she and Tanner promise to stay in touch - but tragic events prevent a reunion. Rita is found murdered, killed by an unknown assailant.Determined to solve the mystery surrounding his friend's death, Tanner journeys to Rita's hometown in Salinas Valley, home to the strawberry pickers of California. Surrounded by rumours of Rita's revolutionary past, Tanner begins a desperate journey that takes him deep into a network of violence and corruption within the strawberry industry.