The first thing you need to know about this city is that it is big. It is difficult to explain to someone who has never seen it. You can fold his town into a corner of one of the city's five separate sectors and still have room for more. The next thing you need to know is that it's dangerous. Never mind the reassuring bulletins from the mayor's office; just watch the first ten minutes of the eleven o'clock news and you'll learn exactly what the people of this city are capable of doing to other people in this city. So, if you came here thinking, Gee, there's going to be a neat little murder that takes place in a town house and some blue-haired lady will solve it, then you came to the wrong city at the wrong time of year. In this city, you have to pay attention. In this city, things are happening all the time, all over the place, and you don't have to be a detective to smell evil in the wind. This week's city tabloids depict the face of a pretty, dead girl who lay sprawled near a park bench not seven blocks from the 87th precinct house, while the late night news reports on the latest exploits of The Cookie Boy, a professional thief who leaves a box of chocolate chip cookies behind after a score. Behind the scenes, detectives Carella and Brown soon discover that this is not your average dead girl, but one with an unusual past. As they piece together her secrets, detectives Meyer and Kling search Isola's pawnshops for items stolen by The Cookie Boy. While the detectives are investigating their cases, one of them is being stalked by the man who killed his father. Like the city itself, this novel is wonderfully complex and filled with memorable characters, honest dialogue, and breathtaking violence.