Appie Knoll is the kind of suburb where kids grow up right. But something is wrong. Fourteen-year-old Kevin Bartlett disappears. Everyone thinks he's run away -- until the comic strip ransom note arrives. It doesn't take Spenser long to get the picture: an affluent family seething with rage, a desperate boy making strange friends... friends like Vic Harroway, body builder. Mr. Muscle is Spenser's only lead and he isn't talking except with his fists. But when push comes to shove, when a boy's life is on the line, Spenser can speak that language too.