After her last harrowing case Kate is more than ready for routine police work and a newfound serenity with her longtime lover, Lee, and their circle of close friends. Until one night when her pager summons her to a scene of carefully executed murder. Half-hidden in a clump of bushes lies a well-muscled corpse, handcuffed and strangled, a stun gun's faint burn on his chest and candy in his pocket. The only person who might have wanted airport baggage handler James Larsen dead, it seems, is the wife he repeatedly abused--who recently left him for a women's shelter. But her alibi is airtight, her physique frail, and her attitude less than vengeful.
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. Investigators have already called it an accident, but Roz is convinced the young Indian bride was actually murdered--and when Roz takes up a crusade, no one can deny her. As Kate wrestles with the clash between her personal and professional lives, a third killing draws her and Al into a network of pitiless destruction that reaches far beyond San Francisco, a contemporary-style hit list with shudderingly primal roots.