After her last harrowing case Kate Martinelli is more than ready for routine police work and her newfound serenity with longtime lover Lee. But then she's called to the scene of a carefully executed murder, and everything changes. Half hidden in a clump of bushes lies a well-muscled corpse, handcuffed and strangled, with a candy bar in his pocket. The only person who might have wanted airport baggage handler James Larsen dead seems to be the wife he repeatedly abused, but her alibi is airtight.
Kate and her partner, Al Hawkin, are stumped. Then a second body turns up - also zapped, cuffed, strangled . . . and carrying a chocolate bar. It is that of Matthew Banderas, a software salesman convicted of one rape, suspected of many more. Yet, despite the newspaper headlines, Kate and Al can establish no personal link between the victims, and cannot rule out coincidence. But in the midst of an unpromising investigation, Kate has another cause thrust upon her by her friend, feminist minister Roz Hall, that of a young Indian bride Roz is convinced was murdered. As Kate wrestles with the clash between her personal and professional life, a third killing draws her and Al into a network of pitiless destruction that reaches far beyond San Francisco, a hit list with shudderingly primal roots.