PI Alo Nudger, at the St Louis airport to pick up a pal, offers his business card to a distraught woman just before an incoming plane blows apart. The next morning she arrives at his office with a wild story about a bomb in an attache case and a fortune in stolen diamonds, and Nudger gets involved because he needs the fee to fend off his greedy, vindictive ex-wife and her sleazy lawyer. Then his new client is tortured and murdered, and when the hard-nosed killers threaten Nudger's lover and let Nudger know that they are watching his every move, Nudger's friend and former partner, police detective Jack Hammersmith, offers information and protection.
The series has garnered its share of awards. Both What You Don't Know Can Hurt You won a Shamus for Best Private Eye Short Story and Ride the Lightning nabbed an Edgar for Best Short Story in 1985.