When a rash of pranks on the city's meter maids turns deadly, Jill Smith isn't amused
Two witnesses see the man drag the old woman into a canyon while brandishing a rifle. As night falls, detective Jill Smith and the Berkeley police department set up a perimeter. The canyon is a hostage negotiator's nightmare—dark, rough, and full of escape routes—and when she finally opens communication, the gunman doesn't respond. Rather than wait for dawn, Jill leads her team into the darkness. At the bottom of the canyon they find a battered old mannequin and a box of stolen parking tickets. The entire incident was another skirmish in one man's ongoing war to humiliate the city's meter maids.
Interviewing the residents on the canyon's lip, Jill meets Madeleine Riordan, retired attorney and legendary firebrand She seems to know something, but refuses to tell until the next day. When Jill returns, the woman has been murdered, and Jill suspects that the prankster may have lost his sense of humor.