The voice belongs to a woman, but Dr. Alex Delaware remembers a little girl. It is eleven years since seven-years-old Melissa Dickinson dialed a hospital help line for comfort—and found it in therapy with Alex Delaware. Now the lovely young heiress is desperately calling for psychologist's help once more. Only this time it looks like Melissa's deepest childhood nightmare is really coming true ... Twenty years ago, Gina Dickinson, Melissa's mother, suffered a grisly assault that left the budding actress irreparably scarred and emotionally crippled. Now her acid-wielding assailant is out of prison and back in L.A.—and Melissa is terrified that the monster has returned to hurt Gina again. But before Alex Delaware can even begin to soothe his former patient's fears, Gina, a recluse for twenty, disappears. And now, unless Delaware turns crack detective to uncover the truth, Gina Dickinson will be just one more victim of a cold fury that has already spawned madness—and murder.