It's everyday business when Wattles, the San Fernando Valley's top "executive crook," sets up a hit. He establishes a chain of criminals to pass along the instructions and the money, thereby ensuring that the hitter doesn't know who hired him. Then one day Wattles finds his office safe open and a single item missing: the piece of paper listing the crooks in the chain. When people associated with the chain begin to pop up dead, the only person Wattles can turn to for help is Junior Bender, professional burglar and begrudging private eye for crooks.But Junior already knows exactly who took Wattles' list; the signature is obvious. It was Herbie Mott, Junior's burglar mentor and second father-but when Junior seeks him out to discuss the matter, he finds him very unpleasantly murdered. Junior follows the links in the chain back toward the killer, and as he does, he learns disturbing things about Herbie's hidden past. Just how much of the life he's lived for the past twenty years has been of his own making, and how much of it was actually Herbie's game?