San Diego’s Chief of Homicide warns Max Thursday to keep out of the investigation of the murder of a beautiful redheaded divorcée. But Merle, the reporter girlfriend of the hard-fisted private investigator, begs Max to tackle the case, confessing a secret love affair with Bliss Weaver, the victim’s estranged ex-husband, whom the police are accusing of the killing. Then Weaver escapes from jail, and a second and a third strangling occur. Torn between a jealous desire to see his rival out of the way and his conviction that Weaver is innocent, Max begins a desperate chase after the murderer. From swank La Jolla to an isolated lighthouse, the trail finally leads to the ashes of a city dump, where Max must solve his own dilemma and the brutal crimes in a spine-tingling showdown.