Dutch O'Brien is one tough cookie.You have to be if you're a private detective working the not-so-angelic streets of Los Angeles. But after a broken love affair nearly leads to a nervous breakdown, Dutch realizes that even she needs to take a break—so she finds what she thinks is a slow-paced, stress-free job as a technical consultant for the popular TV series, STONE, PRIVATE EYE. But while the TV show is a guaranteed cure for insomnia, life on the set is far from sedate—thanks to arrogant, amorous star Buck Stevens.

Amy Westin, the young, ambitious actress who plays Buck's daughter on screen, halts their off-screen affair ("If you dusted Amy for prints, you'd find Buck's in all the wrong places"). Buck flies into a rage but remains clearheaded enough to make a play for Dutch. That night, in her apartment, Dutch receives a package from an unknown admirer: a flowered hatbox scented with roses. Inside, wrapped in pink tissue, is Amy Westin's severed head. And a note: "You're next."


From the Hardcover edition.