Early morning. The concrete forecourt of a Los Angeles motel you wouldn’t check your family into. The owner, a man with a past who was planning a particular future, has been shot in the back.
Career detective Helen Freitag’s investigation of the murder takes her into the underworld of LA’s gangs, as racial tensions and arson attacks rise across the sweltering city.
Looming in the background is an official inquiry into her questionable shooting of a bank robber, as well as increasing trauma from her army service.
The handsome, disgraced journalist Prentice Taylor is drawn into the inquiry by Freitag when the dead man’s daughter runs away from home.