Brighton Doyle has a Los-Angeles based P.I. business that she's inherited; an office on funky Venice boardwalk; a glamorous movie star sister; and a hole in her life where her late fiancé used to be. Her life is shaken up when she hauls in a couple of would-be desperados on the lam in the Arizona desert. Assuming her involvement with the inept siblings is over, she's incredulous when their lawyer asks her to find their own kidnap victim, who has vanished. All evidence to the contrary, the brothers swear they left Virginia Burgess alive. So where is she? Brighton's search for the missing woman takes her from behind the false front of Hollywood to the mountain resorts of Southern California, where matters go downhill fast. By the time she knows the truth, she's encountered corruption, personal betrayal, and murder. To make matters worse, every step of her investigation is dogged by tabloid news reporter, Rick McVee; a complication in more ways than one. The book's title is explained in this passage: "It came up how the coroner's office had four categorizations for a death: accidental, suicide, homicide, and natural causes. There were so many murders in Los Angeles that they called a homicide a "California natural."