Motivated by her mother's long-ago unsolved abduction, Stella Lavender has joined the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation only to be severely challenged by her first assignment as an undercover drug agent. Stella works nights, buying drugs from paranoid drug dealers, gathering evidence to send them to prison or turn them into informants. She's great at the job because, as her boss says, you don't look like a cop. But the physical danger and the necessary betrayals are getting to her. When she sees a chance to work a homicide, she'll always take it. One afternoon Stella gives a hitchhiking teenager a ride to her babysitting job. Horror awaits them-the father lies dead in a pool of blood, and his toddler is missing. Stella joins the murder investigation as the puzzle quickly grows. The only physical evidence-a bloody fingerprint- matches no one associated with the victim. And most importantly, where is the toddler? At the same time, Stella's personal life offers plenty of distractions. Her grandmother Fern, a free-spirited artist with male admirers wrapped around every one of her paint-stained fingers, needs Stella's help with expensive house repairs. And Stella's attraction to three very different men means her romantic life is, well, complicated. In Cold Heart, Karen Pullen draws the reader into a darkly delightful page-turner as Stella rummages through every stratum of society in her relentless and sometimes unconventional pursuit of a cold-hearted murderer.