When restaurateur Wendy Harper is brutally beaten one night outside her home and barely survives, she claims not to know the identity of her assailant. Soon after, Wendy arrives at the office of ex-cop P.I. Jack Till with only one objective: she wants to disappear, and she needs Tillís help to do so.
Six years later, Jack has heard nothing about Wendy, sure that she has followed his directives and kept herself safe. But when her former partner, Eric Fuller, is accused of Wendyís murder, a bloody baseball bat found buried in his backyard, Jack is convinced this is a ploy to draw Harper out of hiding.
Following his conscience, Till reports to the DA assigned to Ericís case, only to be informed that the DA will not withdraw the charges unless she can meet Wendy in person. After placing personal ads with the aid of Fullerís lawyer, Jack decides the time has come to find the woman he so carefully trained to avoid detection.
Of course, the man behind the original attempt on Wendyís life has manipulated events to serve his purpose, watching for signs of movement. After meeting with Eric Fuller, the P.I. is watched, his every move tracked. Renting a series of vehicles, Jack is unaware, although he should be, that each vehicle can be followed by its implanted GPS.
Meanwhile, the assassins of choice, a tango-dancing couple, are in place, Jack in their able sights. Other than murder, Paul and Sylvie Turnerís favorite occupation is dancing, particularly the seductive, demanding moves of the tango. Taking a break from their favorite hobby, the couple follows the intrepid investigator from LA to northern California to Las Vegas, never more than one step behind.
Thanks to unexpected events, things quickly turn violent, the killers thorough and relentless, albeit increasingly frustrated by Jackís lucky dodges. But once Till locates Wendy, the stakes get higher, the hunters closing in on their prey and anxious to finish a messy case, retrieve their hard-earned reward and move on.
The man behind the hunt remains in the shadows until complications force him to surface. By that time, dead bodies litter the cities where Paul and Sylvie have been, from back alleys to hotel rooms, Till determined to outwit the killers he has not yet identified. The author manages a fast pace but indulges in frequent asides to reveal the histories of his characters. Unfortunately, the story veers into stereotypical territory when addressing the Hollywood scene and the man behind the curtain.
The backstories render this thriller a bit confusing, introducing personal elements into what is essentially a plot-driven book, individual motives less plausible, especially the heartless, somewhat inefficient assassins and the man behind the threats. It is hard to take the threatening characters seriously - especially the arch-villains, their backgrounds not quite sinister enough. Still, Perry has crafted an intricate mix of mayhem, extravagance and costly blunders, unpredictable to the end.