Small-time crook Johnny Merak is determined to get Maxie Temple, a former crime boss who'd framed him for a three-year stretch in San Quentin, and is now returning home from Mexican exile. But the 1950s Los Angeles Underworld wants Temple and Merak dead, and decides that by killing Temple, they can remove both men with one shot. But Merak isn't having any of the deal--he wants to clear his name and escape his Syndicate ties. When beautiful Dawn Grahame shows up, he finally has a reason to fight for a better life. This is the dark side of the L.A. underworld: the unknown hoodlum who knows too much, a vicious killer named Madden, Madden's girlfriend, who has to be juiced with heroin to stop her from talking, and Clancy Snow and Dutch McKnight, two Underworld bosses who hover like black spiders of treachery and vice over the very core of Los Angeles, manipulating its social, legal, and political life to their benefit. Can Johnny find a way through this morass? A noir crime classic, filled with riveting action, the first of a stunning new series!