A sunny afternoon. Perfect for a walk in the park. Children laughing and playing, eating ice cream, dogs barking. And a man pushing an old pram.
By rights, DS Lasser should be happy, engaged to the woman of his dreams, and just back from a two-week vacation, life is sweet.
But it only takes one phone call, from DCI Bannister, telling him that a local sex offender has been mutilated and murdered and all thoughts of harmonious bliss are quickly annihilated.
No one would shed a tear for Colin Philips, no one would stand at his grave and mourn, but when another body turns up in gory, bite-sized chunks it soon becomes apparent that Philips was only the start or the clean-up.
Someone is stalking the streets of this windswept, northern town, someone with a burning hatred and a long list of names to work with. Someone with inside information.
The killer is on a mission to rid the town of the perverts and child molesters, and he always seems to be one-step ahead of the law.
The authorities are struggling to cope; cuts and job losses at the council are making it an impossible task to monitor the offenders and the killer is taking full advantage of the situation. Everyone is working under impossible circumstances. Everyone's workload has more than trebled. Wages have been frozen. Everyone except the Head of Social Services.
Lasser soon finds himself ensnared in a web of lies and deceit as those responsible for using the town as a dumping ground try to cover their tracks at any cost.
To make matters worse, local scumbag reporter and Lasser's nemesis, Michael Brewster, is leading the witch-hunt, determined to lay the blame for the killings at Lasser's feet.
As the nights draw in and the body count rises, Lasser must hunt the maniac who is spiralling out of control, though even in his madness Lasser realises that the killer is working to an agenda and he isn't working alone.
So, who is helping him? And why?