The body of a woman with her throat ripped out is found on Saddleworth Moor, near Manchester. She is discovered in an area where several sightings of a mysterious large black cat have been made.
When analysis shows that hairs caught under the victim's nails are those of a panther, it is assumed that the animal has killed its first human prey.
But then a man DI Jon Spicer is investigating as part of an entirely different case is murdered in exactly the same way. Only this time the body is found in a secluded car park - a popular gay rendezvous far closer to the city centre.
Soon DI Spicer finds himself hunting a killer dubbed The Monster of the Moor, a creature whose stealth and savagery strike terror into the local population and way beyond it to the whole of the north west . . .