Marina Velarde is long disheartened by the violence consuming her southwestern community but is driven to action when her brother, Rudolfo, and three other men are brutally executed in the barrio of Los Volcanes. After he charges a powerful Mexican drug lord with the murders, local district attorney Calvin Dusan immediately manipulates the media to support a quick trial. But Marina believes the wrong man has been charged, and when Judge Margaret Morrigan is assigned the case, she agrees that the evidence is questionable. Judge Morrigan knows the truth won't be revealed unless she can fight Dusan's determination to maneuver a premature conviction. Both Margaret and Marina soon face radical changes in their lives. Margaret endures threats on her life and her reputation and becomes a virtual prisoner in her own home. Marina evolves from timid onlooker to confident combatant as she fights to uncover all she can about her brother and his death. But both women realize there can be no end to their turmoil until they finally resolve the horrible murders that have overshadowed their world.