When a young reporter is pushed from a ninth story window in Greenwich Village, NYPD Homicide Lieutenant Frank Mead soon connects the case to a murder that took place at the same site a hundred years earlier, during the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire.
Following the shattering suicide of his wife seven years ago, Mead is back after a self-imposed estrangement from NYPD and his daughter, Amanda. He is determined to make up for the past and forge a new relationship with her despite her active resistance. His first case is the death of the reporter who was writing a commemorative story on the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire of 1911– the worst disaster in the City’s history until 9-11. Frank learns that the murder scene is the very window from which scores of workers leaped to their death to escape burning alive.
Frank’s great grandfather, Cormac Mead, a member of the NYPD in 1911, is the first of a long line of NYPD Mead cops. His wife, Frank’s great grandmother, Fiona, works at the Triangle. She begins as a seamstress and soon becomes aware of the hazardous working conditions of the garment industry. Fiona and Cormac argue about worker’s rights and, because of his position on the police force and ties with City Hall, Cormac forbids her involvement in the Women’s League Union. Fiona, however, has a mind of her own, and continues to meet with women’s rights advocates.
Since Fiona can read and write, she’s promoted to an office position at the Triangle. There she unwittingly discovers a pattern of insurance fraud and arson perpetrated by the owners. About to reveal the truth concerning the latest arson scheme, she is silenced with a bullet by a thug hired by the Triangle owners. The killer then deliberately sets the fire to cover up her murder. Horrifically, it also kills145 of her co-workers.
Cormac arrives at the scene of the Triangle inferno. He finds Fiona among the bodies on the pavement and discovers that, besides burns and breaks from the fall, she’s been shot in the back at close range. Because of political pressure from Tammany Hall, Cormac is never able to officially open a homicide case. However, through his own private investigation of the remains of the fire and the post-mortem he conducts secretly on his wife’s body (removing and preserving the bullet), he edges close to the truth. Being a policeman first and foremost, he pushes past his grief to collect evidence and construct an unofficial police “murder book.” For years he attempts to find his wife’s killer but forensic science is in its infancy and he turns up no viable proof.
One hundred years later, Frank learns that his daughter is a close friend of the murdered young reporter and, in fact, is helping her with the Triangle piece. When Amanda turns up missing, Frank has a new and urgent personal reason to find today’s killer. As he scours his daughter’s computer for clues to her whereabouts, he finds Cormac’s notes, diagrams, photographs, and the actual blood-encrusted bullet that killed Fiona. Amanda even has the “murder book.”
The investigation leads Frank to the heart of the NYPD, a corrupt and powerful machine that Cormac Mead found himself in a hundred years ago. The clues point to one man at the top–First Deputy Commissioner, whose past like Frank’s, is tied directly to the murder at the Triangle. The Commissioner enlists the help of a fellow cop, Luis Santiago, to save his department from scandal and protect his family from disgrace. To do this Santiago must “kill the Triangle story.” Santiago, a loose cannon with an agenda of his own, kills the story teller instead, and sets in motion a chain that jeopardizes Frank’s family.
Relentless like his great grandfather and the other two other NYPD Meads before him, Frank will let nothing stand in his way to find his daughter and track down the reporter’s killer. In doing so, he also resolves the century-old mystery of his great grandmother’s murder.