Ten years ago in California, Daniel Pell, a self-styled Charles Manson, was sentenced to life in prison for murdering an entire family -- husband, wife, and two children, plus one of his young male followers. He is brought to Salinas, California, to interview with Kathryn Dance after he is implicated in yet another killing. Things go terribly wrong during an interview break and Pell, after badly injuring a fellow California Bureau of Investigation agent and murdering several bystanders, escapes. The late murder implication was just one of his many schemes, allowing him to travel outside of his high-security prison -- and continue to kill of the outside.It's up to Kathryn Dance, aided by her CBI partners, a Monterey County detective, and a brilliant FBI agent specializing in cult mentality. Hungry on his trail, Dance enlists three of Pell's former female followers, now raising families and leading normal lives, as well as the one surviving family member in the initial killing. Only eight years old at the time, she survived asleep in her bed, obscured by her toys and stuffed animals, prompting the press to call her "The Sleeping Doll." Now eighteen, this girl may have clues about Pell. Full of Deaver's trademark plot twists, Dance and the police know that Pell didn't escape from jail in search of freedom, and they must stop him before he kills again.