Things begin to heat up in the Los Angeles Police Department when Lieutenant Luis Mendoza's stolid and good-natured colleague Sergeant Higgins is kidnapped by three dangerous escaped prisoners.
A manhunt is launched but no one expects Higgins to be seen alive again. Can Mendoza's team ever recover, or is the officer's return just around the corner?
After twenty-six years in homicide, Lieutenant Luis Mendoza knows death is all in a day's work. But in the heat of a Los Angeles summer, even the predictable becomes bizarre. And for a hard-boiled cop with a decidedly soft centre, nothing is more implausible than human nature - especially when it comes to murder . . .
'A Luis Mendoza story means superlative suspense' Los Angeles Times
In the quiet suburb of Santa Monica, eighty-eight-year-old Mabel Foster loses her husband to a stroke. Rather than move Mabel into a retirement home, the neighbours hire Josephine Slaney to take care of her. The immense nurse is a godsend, the cost of her help is a bargain.
Soon it becomes clear, however, that all is not right with Josephine. Mrs Foster, once bright and alert, falls quickly into a torpor and retreats into seclusion at Josephine's command. It is up to detective Dan Valentine to uncover a strange, lethal pattern among Josephine's former patients, and the race is on to stop her before she can strike again.
Ivor Maddox has his hands more full than ever, with his wife Sue expecting a baby. To add to this, he also faces several of the most complex and frustrating cases of his career: the killing of a thirteen-year-old whose grief-stricken father takes the law into his own hands, and the shooting of a wealthy businessman, which sends Maddox digging into the past.
Most extraordinary of all are the corpses that keep turning up under the floorboards of abandoned houses all over the country. And when the vital clue to the identity of the mass murderer turns up in Maddox's territory, it's up to him to solve one of the crimes of the century.
Ronnie and Ruth, a young couple engaged to be married, are shot dead. Someone hated their guts so bad he reloaded and pumped nine shots into their car.
Maddox was stymied. Why should anyone kill two nice, respectable young people? Who was the funny man playing practical jokes all over the neighbourhood? And what was the band of American Nazis doing with an arsenal of deadly weapons?
Charles O'Connor of the Glendale police and Vic Varallo are having dinner with their wives when they are interrupted by a call informing them of murder. The victim is an old, nearly blind woman, killed in her daughter's flat.
This is the first of a spate of crimes including a serial dog thief, the hit-and-run killing of a young mother and her two children, a knife fight and a row of flower pots - growing marijuana. All in a day's work for the Glendale P. D.