Shareef Crawford is a celebrated writer of romantic fiction, who leaves his sunny mansion in South Florida and returns to his Harlem roots to pen a true crime book that may just end his life. Craving more respect for his craft as a writer, Shareef allows an enticing female fan to pitch him a no-holds-barred tell-all about an imprisoned Harlem gangster who admires Shareef's writing. With insane courage and an iron will, Shareef, the street-smart intellectual, finally gets a chance to write something more edgy and noteworthy. However, the Harlem streets he returns to in 2006 have changed, and the stakes of survival are higher now than they've ever been. Amid the rise of high-priced condominiums, a changing population, young criminals gunning to make names for themselves, and old criminals fighting to become legitimate businessmen, Shareef finds himself caught in a real-life thriller where past foes become friends, and trusted friends become dangerous foes.