A ringing telephone at the Lake Marion home of Rick and Terri Watson from their best friend, John Alworth, who is in China and accused of murder, sends Rick and Terri halfway around the world to help prove their friend is innocent. John Alworth is the director of quality for Water Management Technologies (WMT), a rapidly growing startup company that has developed a game-changing product in water treatment and filtration.

WMT is lead by CEO Gregory Brightson, the flamboyant golden boy of the venture capital set. WMT is about to go public after the new product is introduced to the American consumer when the director of engineering and quality at Universal China Production Company (UCPC) in Changzhou, China, WMT's main hardware supplier, reveals to John the final life test has a fatal flaw.

The director, Mr. Zhu, informs John he will turn over the test report later that night at John's hotel because he fears for his life if the wrong people find out about the failed life test. That fear is realized when Director Zhu is murdered late that afternoon, and all evidence points to John as the killer. He is arrested by the Shanghai police and transferred to Changzhou, where he is held in jail with no possibility of bail. With little to go on, Rick and Terri find themselves in a race against Chief Inspector Ji of the Changzhou police to keep John from standing trial for murder and a certain conviction.