Lauren Teague is a beautiful, defiant, borderline delinquent teenager when her parents bring her to Dr. Alex Delaware's office. Lauren angrily resists Alex's help -- and the psychologist is forced to chalk Lauren up as one of the inevitable failures of his profession. Years later, when Alex and Lauren come face-to-face in a shocking encounter, both doctor and patient are stricken with shame. But the ultimate horror takes place when, soon after, Lauren's brutalized corpse is found dumped in an alley. Alex disregards the advice of his trusted friend, LAPD detective Milo Sturgis, and jeopardizes his relationship with longtime lover, Robin Castagna, in order to pursue Lauren's killer. As he investigates his young patient's troubled past, Alex enters the shadowy worlds of fringe psychological experimentation and the sex industry -- and then into mortal danger, when lust and big money collide in an unforgiving Los Angeles.