Hardened by tough city streets and jaded by daily dealings with the criminal element, the detectives of the 87th precinct comprise a close fraternity marked by trust, companionship and selfless bravery. For detectives Kling and Carella, the job of protecting and serving the people of this teaming city can take its toll. For those in the 87th, each day gives rise to the possibility of another grisly tale. Lightning strikes the 87th precinct with devastating fury - illuminating the grisly handiwork of a madman who preys on young, Olympic-calibre female track stars. Leaving his victims in a strange victory-like pose, the killer marks each body with one clue: a white square of paper on which a lightning bolt is drawn. Kling and Carella must quickly piece together the motives and mystery of a ritual killer who, it appears, is hoping to be caught. Their desperate search finds them fighting time and themselves as the corpses of once-promising athletes begin to mount.