There are murders that are more than crimes, that do more than hurt, kill or maim -- that strike at the very heart of a community and a nation. This is the true story of such a crime.

The town was Midlothian, Texas. Once it was a rural farming community built around a cement plant, a place far removed from the violence of urban America. Now, because it was a good, safe place to raise kids, it was becoming a bedroom community of Dallas, thirty miles away. Then some of Midlothian's kids committed a cold-blooded murder.

On a foggy, drizzly night in late October, a young undercover policeman who had been posing as a high school student was lured out into an empty field. The next day, searchers found his body in that field -- lying facedown with a bullet in the back of the head.

From Edgar Award-winning writer Carlton Stowers, here is the shocking true story of the last hours of undercover officer George Raffield and the forces that led up to his execution-style killing. While the police solved the murder in a matter of days ("Every damn kid in this town seems to know about this," one of the cops said), the quest for justice would take much longer. INNOCENCE LOST reconstructs the hidden, violent world that George Raffield discovered in the heart of Midlothian.

Here were teenagers living in a turbulent world of drugs, alienation, and, in one case, Satanic worship. Here was a steady stream of crank and pot being poured straight into the heart of a good and decent town. Here was a distressing number of kids who heard that someone was going to kill George Raffield but who did nothing to stop it, and who, after the crime, expressed little remorse.

Capturing the drama of a tense, twisting investigation, Stowers profiles the men who were charged with hunting the killer down. They were men of another generation, staggered by the coldness and indifference they encountered. And finally, here are those who ended George Raffield's life: Richard Goeglein, a youth of frightening intensity, who had already been involved in one savage act of violence in Arizona; Greg Knighten, the adopted son of a police officer, a crack shot who bragged that he was "going to kill George"; and Cynthia Fedrick, a woman of twenty-three who supplied the teenagers with drugs and came to their parents' doors if they didn't pay.

From high school football games to undercover drug buys, from Sunday morning church services to a body lying facedown in the mud, INNOCENCE LOST takes us on a frightening journey. For not only does one of America's premier crime writers capture the personalities, the details, and the implications of this act of violence -- he shows us the darkest side of America with all the sheer, shocking impact of a pistol shot that will not stop echoing in the brain.