Blacklight's recent tour has been rough on guitarist JP Kinkaid: a heart attack in Boston and a significant ramp-up of his multiple sclerosis have left him more physically fragile than usual. With the tour over, JP is relaxing by sitting in as second guitarist for a new CD by his long-time friends, the Bombardiers. The Bombardiers are breaking in a new frontman: singer/guitarist Vinny Fabiano. Self-absorbed and abrasive, Vinny is new to the Bay Area music scene. All anybody seems to really know about him is that he has some very expensive instruments, but no obvious source of income to pay for them.
A few weeks into the sessions, Vinny is found dead in the Bombardiers' rehearsal space, smashed over the head with a custom guitar. The murder leaves the Bombardiers-who are already in hot water with their record label-without a singer or a regular guitar player. JP, calling in a favor, asks Malcolm "Mac" Sharpe to step in and sub for Vinny. But then Vinny's cousin and guitar tech is found murdered in Marin County, and Vinny's most valuable guitar-a $75,000 custom Zemaitis pearl top-is missing.