Up-and-coming African American writer, Kira Danforth, moves seamlessly between two very different worlds. Able to navigate the shark infested waters of agents and big shot authors, she is equally at home with her boyfriend "D Tour", a drug-dealer from the rough neighborhood of her youth. However, after garnering the professional interest of agent Gareth Sage, Kira shuns D Tour, who had shown up late to one of her short story readings. When Kira is murdered in her own apartment later that evening, it becomes clear that her ability to navigate both worlds might not have been so easy after all.
Goren and Eames inspect the crime scene and posit that the murderer came looking for something of value when things turned ugly for Kira. When Goren discovers a speaker box with green dust and crystallized resin, he suspects that the murder was drug related. Eames, noticing mens' clothes in the room, thinks a live-in boyfriend may have something to do with it. The detectives interview Kira's co-workers and learn about D Tour, her 'street' boyfriend, who was reported to look quite angry in the hours before Kira was killed. D Tour, realizing that he's in trouble with rival drug dealers, in addition to the detectives investigating Kira's murder, is on the run. After speaking to Kira's mourning mother and brother, the detectives surmise that D Tour would be crashing at a place he would feel safe: his mother's house. Sure enough, they find D Tour, badly beaten. He explains to the cops that he was roughed up for stealing some weed, but that he, nor any drug dealers, had anything to do with Kira's murder. In fact, after seeing Kira with Gareth Sage, he knew that he had lost her for good.
When D Tour's alibi checks out, Goren and Eames start to delve into Kira's literary world for answers. They find that Kira had run in the same literary circle as bad-boy writer TJ Hawkins. And when he throws a Hollywood style, overly-dramatic tantrum as the detectives question him, Hawkins is cuffed. In an effort to support TJ's tough-guy image, he staged the tantrum to drive book sales. TJ and Kira's powerful mentor, Lionel Shill, vouches for the writer, saying they were together the night Kira got killed. But he can't speak for Gareth Sage, the agent who showed interest in Kira's writing on the night she gave her reading. In fact, Shill intimates that Sage was abusive to women. Finding Sage uncooperative, Goren and Eames press on by interviewing the his former clients and employees, who elaborate a history of abuse and harrassment. The detectives now have a warrant to search Sage's car, and are not surprised to see evidence that, contrary to his previous testimony, he gave Kira a ride in his car the night she was killed.
When the detectives interview Sage, he is pressed into admitting that he did give Kira a ride, but that he was home with his wife at the time of the murder. His GPS logs corroborate his story, and Sage suggests the investigation should focus on Lionel Shill, Kira's talented, but recently unsuccessful, mentor. And when Shill's new book seems too close to Kira's own life's tale, the detectives begin to believe Sage's assertions. Goren, who has recently read Shill's new manuscript "Token", is stricken by one character who he thinks he's seen in real life. Yet the character was based on someone Kira knew, not Shill. When Goren talks to D Tour and realizes that he was, in fact, the inspiration for one of the characters in the book, he is certain that Shill stole Kira's manuscript and was trying to pass it off as his own. If Kira found out that he stole her work, she would turn him in as a fraud, banishing him from the literary community and drying up any source of income. Goren and Eames now believe Shill had motive. When they confront him on his plagiarism, Shill caves, but he insists that though he stole her words, he did not take her life.
Ross suggests that the detectives have taken a stab at the smarmy agent, tried to pin it on the poisonous mentor, but have not really pressed the issue with the one person who has admitted to being a killer in his own memoirs: TJ Hawkins. When Goren challenges Hawkins and the writer turns his back on the confrontation, Eames realizes that TJ's memoir, which claims he spent hard time in jail, was a phony. No prisoner ever turns his back on physical confrontation. That kind of behavior can get you killed in the slammer. Hawkins' latest book, "American Delinquent", details his supposed confinement in a juvenile detention center in the Bronx, the same place where D Tour spent a year for stealing a car. Though Hawkins painstakingly researched the book, he most assuredly was wrong on a few facts, and one person who would be able to set the record straight was the person assigned to review it. Kira Hawkins, who had visited her boyfriend D Tour in the year he was at the detention center, was assigned by the Times to review the fraudulent book. And the person who pulled strings to get a damning review of Hawkins' latest offering was none other than his mentor, Lionel Shill. Jealous at the possibility of Hawkins' continued success, Shill got the one girl he knew could expose his work as the cheap fraud that it was.
Lionel Shill, ever the puppet master of his students' actions, masterfully played the young TJ Hawkins and wound him up, pulling the strings to get him to murder Kira, the girl who could have exposed both men as the frauds that they are.