Freelance writer John Standard is suffering from post-traumatic stress after having narrowly escaped death at the hands of a brutal serial killer. He travels from his home in Oregon to Zihuatanejo, Mexico, to recuperate. While there, he finds himself drafted into a search for the missing granddaughter of an Oregon millionaire. It is suspected that she has become one of the Paradise Girls—-young American girls who are kidnapped from their homes and forced into prostitution in Mexico. His search takes him into a dark world inhabited by the very wealthy Raul Barrego and his mysterious female companion, an assassin known only by the name Pantera—-the Panther.