Private Detective Barney Moon can hack, charm or bullshit his way into or out of damned-near anything.
Barney is driven -- to solve cases, nail bad guys, and to anyplace not reachable via the NY subway. Barney never learned to drive.
Like most born/bred New Yorkers, he regards pretty much anywhere else as "out-of-town." But there is one place for which he has a particular, lifelong aversion: Los Angeles, California.
Hired to investigate what is apparently a straightforward case of insurance fraud/arson, things quickly become complicated when his chief suspect, Douglas Rhodes, suddenly flees to – guess where?
So, Barney, along with misgivings, attitudes, and his driver, Al Drobowsky, reluctantly heads for Tinseltown. There, what looked easy, requiring no more than a day – the need to obtain a single fingerprint – quickly turns darker, larger and waaay more lethal. Much of it in Only-in-La-La-Land ways.
Starting with Barney discovering the murder of a young geek from whose fist he recovers a flash-drive containing a cryptic piece of computer code. And raising the suspicions of a pair of LAPD Homicide Detectives.
That same night, his driver is forced back to Brooklyn to bail his aging mother out of her gambling-debt trouble, leaving Barney stuck – without wheels – in Wheels City. Next morning, however, he catches spectacular, tattooed-and-pierced Melodie Seaver, 18, trying to hot-wire his rented car. Barney's adroit trade-off: for not having her arrested, Melodie will drive for him. He figures a day at most – and then he can achieve his urgent wish to depart Loony-Toonsville.
Melodie quickly demonstrates her chops, expertly, daringly losing a mysterious tail. But Barney's quest becomes additionally perilous and complex, involving an L.A. mobster, his vicious enforcer, and a colorful Bev Hills Madam. Because of his need for closure, Barney is compelled to hang around, trying to decipher the computer guy's code -- and his murder. And to obtain that damned fingerprint.
As Melodie drives, Barney offers wry, New Yorker's observations about Los Angeles – the equivalent of asides-to-the-camera. And while struggling to penetrate assorted bizarre players and deepening mysteries, he bumps into – with a barely stifled "Oy" – a former New York girlfriend. Now an A-list TV director, she's The One Who Never Got Over Him. He politely puts her off, but then Rhodes, the fingerprint-owner, is murdered. Barney and Melodie become the chief suspects. And fugitives. And he has no option but to take advantage of the old girlfriend – via the loan of her pricey car.
From there, stakes ratchet steeply upward. Barney learns of Rhodes's involvement with The Line, a cult led by Damian Coulter, headquartered in a Malibu mansion, The House on Sea Trail. Among The Line's members, residents of The House and its D.C. counterpart – are Congressmen, lobbyists and other Players, including a mysterious former Special Forces Colonel. Barney realizes that while all have secret goals in direct conflict with Coulter's – and with each other, all are complicit in The Line's super-secret, insanely-twisted plan that will murder thousands.
As Barney sorts out who's gaming – and murdering -- whom, at the last possible moment, narrowly avoiding death, and with an unexpected assist from Melodie, he manages to foil the astonishing, truly bizarre terror-scheme. Finally, Barney Moon can leave all the nuttiness behind, and get back to his comfort-zone.
Except – well -- there is one more thing...