April, 1951. Lee County, Florida. It’s Friday night at the Caloosa Club, an ultra-private, members-only hideaway tucked inside the riverfront Caloosa Hotel in downtown Fort Myers. The crowd, well-heeled, freewheeling locals, vacationing war veterans and their wives, are enjoying the club’s forbidden pleasures: high-stakes poker, untaxed mixed drinks and play-for-pay escorts of both sexes.
Hotel manager and war hero Dan Ewing is pleased yet troubled by the unexpected arrival of a wartime lover, Australian combat pilot Oliver McKenna. Dan, the survivor of Japanese torpedoes, five days on a life raft, and the death of a shipboard lover, has settled into life with another veteran, hard-charging, Southern-drawling Lee County Detective Bud Wright, a former Marine sergeant twice decorated for valor. Dan’s feelings are painfully mixed about the choice he feels he must make. Should he resume the previous romantic affair and follow the handsome pilot to Australia or remain with his devoted partner in conservative, intolerant, booming Fort Myers?
Southwest Florida’s rapidly changing society is fueled by postwar development, widespread corruption and undercover deals. One by one the hidden horrors come to light: Politicians on the take, hired thugs smashing reputations, the rape of a young man by a trusted teacher, candid photographs of an illicit tryst, and an upcoming special election in which voters will be influenced by wealthy businessmen as well as newspapers. All of these forces are in place when a mutilated body is discovered at an opulent, oceanfront cottage. As the tension rises, Bud and Dan must put aside their differences and work together to solve another Caloosa Club mystery. Significant erotic content and salty language.