With crooks to cuff and pimps to put behind bars, detectives Carella and Meyer of the 87th Precinct simply don’t have the time or patience to deal with a prank caller—even if he has phoned murder threats to two dozen local shop owners. What they fail to realize, however, is they aren’t dealing with a heckler who’s ringing round for kicks but rather a modern-day Moriarty known only as the Deaf Man—and these phone calls are just his first move in a calculated scheme to pull off the bank robbery of the decade. Further calls darken a lovely spring with suspicion and fear, before a brutal murder whips things into a frenzy, prompting Carella and Meyer to scour the town for clues to the Deaf Man’s identity. As the detectives grasp at a few tenuous threads of the larger plot, those targeted by the calls clamor for the cops to slam the case closed before more of them wind up stiffs. If they can find him in time, the 87th Precinct promises to shut down the Deaf Man for good.