These two detective stories are set in Santa Monica, Los Angeles and the surrounding areas. All of the stories open with a prologue in the form of a brief police report. The vels are then in two parts. The first part is an introduction to the victim and the events leading up to their deaths. In the second part Detective Antonio Garcia of the Santa Monica Police Department leads the murder investigation, culminating in each case in either the court case or the discovery of the murderer. Garcia is joined in the second case by a black female detective, Loretta Hanbury, seconded to him from LAPD. An emerging emotional involvement between the two is a secondary storyline in the final two vels.