Psychologist Dr Alex Delaware has always looked on Melissa Dickinson as one of his greatest triumphs. A terrified, tormented seven-year-old when she first appeared in his Los Angeles surgery, Melissa after two years seemed totally recovered. But nine years later Melissa contacts Alex again, anxious this time for her mother. As Alex recalls, weatlthy widow Gina Dickinson has problems of her own. For two decades she has hidden herself away from the eyes of the world - ever since a vicious acid attack destroyed the face of Hollywood actress Gina Prince. Then the reclusive Gina climbs into her car - and totally disappears. And as Alex and Detective Milo Sturgis lead the search for her, they find their quest taking them out of the here and now and into a grotesque, labyrinthine private history as violent and sinister as any bad dream... How well did Alex ever understand his star patient Melissa? How could he have 'cured' her when he never even guessed at the evil and hatred that formed her inheritance?