Like a ghoul out of a particularly grisly urban legend, a killer is haunting the streets of New York, stalking young girls until finally murdering them and chopping off their hand as souvenirs. The entire department is called in to work the case, though no one realizes the killer has already spotted his next victim–Carol. Dee and Ryo attempt to warn Carol to be careful, but her characteristic kindness and independence lead her right into the killer’s clever trap. Of course, that same sass makes her a far-from-terrified victim, ready to fight back at a moment’s notice, and once Dee, Ryo, and Bikky realize she’s vanished, they’re using all their skills to track her down before it’s too late. Amid all of the tension, Dee is trying to figure out how to progress from kisses to more intimate attentions without spooking the nervous but willing Ryo. We finally get away from the (often irritatingly) dazed compliance Ryo’s displayed in the past — instead of staring off in space wondering what to do, he’s trying to do something about his own internal barriers, and Dee gets to show how sensitive he is of Ryo’s hesitation despite being (understandably) frustrated.
The second thread of story leads us back to Dee’s teen years as an orphan taken under the wings of a no-nonsense nun and a flawed but fatherly cop. Dee’s life has always been tough, if full of affection, and even when the grimmest of realizations brings a disheartening betrayal to light, his talent for seeing to the true heart of the matter harkens what will make him a good cop and a better friend. This volume’s crimes are a bit more icky than usual. The sexual side of the stalking of underage girls in the first story is not hidden and the tale of Dee’s teenhood addresses issues of sexual abuse and rape (though there’s only one explicit panel), so this volume is definitely for older teens and adults.