The Los Osos Stags Lodge, a charitable fraternal order, is selling prime beachfront property along the central California coast. Harry Warrener's best friend, Randy Lismore, dies in a bizarre incident. At the inquest into the death, an FBI agent reveals startling connections to organized crime.
Harry begins an investigation and joins the Stags. He meets and falls in love with Janet Zimmer. Together with Thor, Harry's German shepherd, they uncover corruption that has spread from a mansion in San Francisco to the Stags' officers, county officials, and construction executives. The corrupt, inept Stags have exploited archaic rules and weaknesses in the management of charities. Kickbacks have been demanded and millions of dollars skimmed through a mobbed-up agent.
As the investigation unfolds, Harry, an ex-Navy SEAL, who panicked in his first and only combat experience in Vietnam, is forced to confront the fears and insecurities that have haunted him for over thirty years.