Tony Schmidt joins the Central Hotline in sunny Bonita Beach, California to improve his listening skills. Shahla Lawton joins the Hotline to fulfill a volunteering requirement for her high school. Neither one expects to get mixed up in a murder investigation.
But that is before Shahla's best friend, Joy, also a listener, is murdered. Tony and Shahla discover that they are able to uncover information that the police can't. Information about the "inappropriate" callers who haunt the Hotline, and information about other people with a connection to the Hotline who may have hidden motives to kill the beautiful Joy. Questions arise. Will the murderer strike the Hotline again? And if the murderer does strike again, will Shahla be the next target?
Although he has been out of college for years, Tony still lives with his college roommate, Josh, and his lifestyle might be described as extended fraternity. Faced with the responsibility of taking calls from people who range from disabled to obsessive to abused to suicidal, and also of helping to solve a murder, Tony finds he has to mature fast. Since this involves admitting that girls like Shahla can be smart and dedicated, and not just underage sex objects, as Josh sees them, the relationship between Tony and Josh may suffer.
Tony and Shahla have harrowing adventures together in venues ranging from Southern California to Las Vegas, as they try to distinguish the annoying-but-harmless callers from the dangerous, and figure out whether the murderer might just be somebody not connected with the Hotline.