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Derek Strange is a rookie cop, the job he's dreamed of since he was a boy. His brother, Dennis, has not been as fortunate; home from the service with a disability pension and zero prospects, he is a man with good intentions but bad habits. Derek has always looked out for Dennis, but no amount of brotherly love can save him from the dangerous world of Alvin Jones, a local bottom-feeder, hustler, and stone killer who draws him into his web of violence.While the rookie cop navigates the rocky terrain of a city in turmoil, a family in crisis, and his love for a woman he has driven away, Frank Vaughn, a cop at the opposite end of his career, investigates the vicious hit and run of a young black man. Vaughn's personal life is in shambles, but he's good police; he pursues the killers with sharklike intent. Meanwhile, in Memphis, a prophet is murdered, igniting a volcanic chain of events that will leave the nation's capital burned, divided, and decimated, forever changing the lives of its working-class inhabitants.