In Seattle, early one morning, two uniformed police officers, and plainclothesman Stan Boyle, are found shot. The two uniformed officers died of their wounds. Boyle's partner, Lt. Lon McQ, is certain local hood Manuel Santiago is behind these killings, especially after a known hit man, employed by Santiago, tries to kill McQ.
Defying the orders of his superior, Captain Ed Kosterman, McQ tails Santiago. After confrontations with both Santiago and Kosterman, and despite the sympathy of city councilman Franklin Toms, McQ enlists the help of private detective "Pinky" Farrell, and soon becomes involved in a major narcotics deal - one that blows up in the face of both McQ and Santiago and that leads to the discovery of a stunning secret for McQ.
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