Bombs, death, and a deadly terrorist have television reporter Bob Christopher at odds with an evil conspiracy. The star anchorman of Los Angeles Channel 3 News had appeared on his last show - as the victim of a terrorist bomb. The shock waves were still rumbling when his accused killer was found dead of an apparent suicide.
Salt Lake City is hotter than hell. The Church of the Latter-day Saints is about to celebrate Pioneer Day, in honor of the Saints who crossed half a continent searching for a home. And in the sun-scorched streets, PI Moroni Traveler, fallen Saint and former football star, is searching for a vicious serial killer. The murderer's calling card is a videotape of his beautiful victims - beautiful before the self-styled "Jack the Ripper" vents his savage, woman-hating rage.
On a dig at the edge of the sun-seared Sonoran Desert, archaeologist Nicolette Scott witnesses a bizarre plane crash that leaves a young man dead in the cockpit of his mangled, burning Cessna. Federal investigators call it "pilot error", but the dead man's grieving grandfather, John Gault, a man who shares Nick's passion for aviation, is demanding answers.
Moroni Traveler, the Salt Lake City investigator heralded by the New York Times Book Review as "a true rebel hero in the classic private-eye tradition", finds himself working on a very personal case as he and his adoptive father, Martin, look for the three-year-old child who may or may not be Moroni's son. Tracking down a lead, the two men end up in a virtual ghost town in the Oquirrh Mountains.
Major Lewis Stiles is dying of cancer, but he wants all his affairs in order before he is "called home". To that end he wants to hire Moroni Traveler and his father Martin to track down one of the prisoners he was responsible for during World War II. Unseen since his mysterious disappearance from the POW camp at Cowdery Junction, Utah, Karl Falke is still owed $132.07 in back pay, and Stiles wants Falke to receive his due.
Ace shortstop Pepper Dalton has finally learned to hit - or so it seems to the good people of Salt Lake City. Moroni Traveler, a private eye named for an angel and cut from the same cloth as his hell-bent father, is hired to prove that Pepper did not kill his sister with a baseball bat. A boyhood hero of Moroni's, Pepper is living, potbellied proof that the past, like everything else, just ain't what it used to be.
Nicolette Scott and her father are both archaeologists - but with differences. Professor Elliot Scott lives and breathes very early Americans, like the Anasazi. His digs are in the southwest, where the ancient peoples lived. To him, his daughter Nicky's area of concern is not to be taken seriously. Nicky goes for the culture embodied by artifacts from the twentieth century - a crashed plane from either world war is enough to send her senses tingling.
Salt Lake City private investigators, Moroni and his father, Martin, maintain an uneasy truce with the Church of Latter-day Saints. But Moroni owes a debt to his boyhood friend Willis Tanner, now one of the top-ranking officials in the LDS, and Willis has come to collect. Lael Woolley, grandniece of the First Prophet, the head of the Mormon church on earth, has been kidnapped, and the prophet believes only Traveler, a Gentile, can rescue her.
Nicolette Scott is an archaeologist whose knowledge of early airplanes has won her kudos as an expert, a reputation for ignoring authority, and a job at the Smithsonian. Shortly after she begins working there, she is thrilled to be included in the museum's latest project. E-Group, a large pharmaceutical company, is equipping an expedition to a remote region of Alaska, where a Japanese "Val" bomber plane was shot down during World War II.
Moroni Traveler, a PI named for an angel, is an outsider - an unwanted unbeliever determined to discover the truth about a dead woman. Branded a devil and greeted with violence, Moroni launches into an investigation that leads him into a smoldering thicket of rumor and concealment. Two people have already been killed. When the case turns brutally personal, there's no going back, and Moroni will journey through hell to ensure that vengeance will be his.
Bob Christopher, investigative reporter for Channel 3 in Los Angeles, is an old hand at ferreting out consumer fraud. He hardly feels that an all-out effort to reinstate Saint Christopher to the church's calendar fits that category. Then the cleaning woman who had taken up the saint's cause is brutally murdered. Bob, guilty because he brushed the old woman off, is compelled to search for her killer.
The network news crew flying out from Los Angeles to cover a forest fire in Idaho believe themselves entitled to danger pay. The blaze has completely destroyed a rural religious community and all its inhabitants and is still raging - but that's not the reason they feel at risk. The danger comes from their on-screen reporter - beautiful, sexy, and malignantly ambitious Vicki Garcia.
Since World War II, the people of Balesin have worshiped airplanes and the rich cargo they carry. Hoping to obtain the spoils of the modern world, they have spent decades trying to lure aircraft down out of the sky with a homemade airstrip and mock planes. But for those who know it, Balesin has an even darker side - one shrouded in a legend of death and cannibalism.
A tranquil resort in the sunbaked sands of southern Utah; a pioneer archaeologist haunted by a bizarre ESP experience, whose footsteps would deliver him to the brink of everlasting evil; a strange old woman who lives in a local hotel, spinning tales of dread and retribution; a tower of blood-red rock called Satan's Seat, looming over the town like a monolithic gravestone.
Bob Christopher is Los Angeles' Channel Three television-newsaction reporter. His beat is the little people - the ones who get pushed around, find themselves in god-awful messes, and produce "human interest" for the insatiable maw of television. But this story was different from the first, when a tiny old lady told Christopher about the bulldozers that had leveled her home without reason or warning. That was ugly enough. What happened to the old lady a little while later was even nastier. And suddenly Bob isn't dealing with the little people any more.
The gates of hell are about to open - and heaven help those who stand in the way. The Indians call it Koshari - the ancient devil spirit who rules his wilderness kingdom from a windswept plateau high above the quiet Utah town of Moondance. Until now, the spirit has remained undisturbed. Soon, however, the terrifying forces of evil will be unleashed, and those who dare violate his sacred land will not escape the fiery heat of the Devil's Breath.
Nicolette Scott is an archaeologist with an unusual specialty, the recent past, and an even odder passion: Uncovering lost airplanes. But ancient civilizations are where the funding is, and the New Mexico badlands are where her father is, so Nick bides her time on a dig of prehistoric Anasazi dwellings. When a prospector brings word of his unexpected find - an airplane buried in the shifting sands of the desert - Nick is eager to investigate.
Moroni Traveler finds it a blessing and a curse to be named for the angel that graces the top of the temple looming over Brigham Young's city. The ex-football star turned private detective has returned to Salt Lake City, a town he once called home. During a spring blizzard, Moroni meets Penny Varney, the ungodly daughter of a powerful high churchman. She retains him to find her mother - whom she fears is dead. His boyhood friend, Willis Tanner, also solicits his services on the same day.
There are three members of KTFO's ace six o'clock news team - and two of them have been murdered. It is the hottest story of Bob Christopher's life, assuming he doesn't get canceled by a sniper's bullet. But what a story! There are Vegas mobsters, brown berets, a blackmailed executive, and a sex kitten…not to mention the Ku Klux Klan, the Navajos, and an assassin built like a Mack truck. Is this what they call media backlash - or mass murder?
Channel Three News is out to keep its ratings up. When a bestial killer starts sending in little packages of his victims' gruesome remains, it is the shot in the arm the news team needs. They play the story to the hilt, with grisly death in living color. But for the show's producer, ex-star anchorman Tim Bishop, this newsman's dream is a private nightmare. Once before, a story on a maniac murderer had backfired on him, leaving his wife slain and his life in shreds. Now Bishop has a new life, a new love, and the old feeling that unspeakable evil is zooming in for a rapid replay.