In the surroundings of Seattle, a serial killer known under the pseudonym of « The Torch » rages since several years. He exclusively attacks young and alone mothers. His ritual is always the same: he immolates his victims with fire after they are savagely assassinated, that costs him the terrible nickname.
For about three years long, Lieutenant Jake Riley is on his back. During of an ultimate crime of the killer, Jake, on the point to retire, lack him once more. Knowing he is the most apt policeman to lead the affair, governmental agents belonging to the national security, that wish more than whoever to apprehend the maternal persecutor, proposes him to continue his pursuit of the infamous murderer, by attaching him a mysterious team-mate.
The State Agents drive Jake in a secret technological center ultra-sophisticated in which clones are created from DNA samples collected from the original people. He is presented a man who is the perfect copy of « The Torch », the Machiavellian serial killer. By creating a perfected retort of the most infamous creatures of the planet, they thus ought to access to terrorists, a mission that conventional means cannot insure any longer.
The replicant, whom was nevertheless increased telepathic capacities by modifying his genome, is confided to Jake. The policeman, full of hatred and revenge, does not spare the man in order that he helps him in finding the steps of the killer. He thinks that the task will be possible only in awaking the killer that is inside him. If the beginnings are not convincing (Jake is elsewhere on the point to give back the detestable clone to its creators), little by little, the replicant effectively perceives the events of the past as if he already saw them or as if he already participated in.
The inquiry goes on and the two pursuers find the killer at the hospital, while he comes to put a term to his old mother's life, who rendered him responsible for the juvenile traumatism that will drive him many years later to such exactions. Jake intervenes but the psychopath is the strongest. The former, arguing on the fraternal and implicit complicity of the two beings genetically identical, attempt to alter the clone's reason and gives him the possibility to finish with the policeman badly injured…
Spoiler ! the end of the story is revealed below…
The man of laboratory refuses and against all wait, saves the life of the detective. Not accepting the fate that he reserved to his mother and the injustice done to the miserable girls that have crossed the path of the killer, the replicant confronts his original in a duel to death. His physical superiority, doubled of high capacities to read in thinks, allow him to conquer the criminal.
Because of the abominable murderer image that he returned, Jake was loan with an abject sourness towards the replicant. His opinion has now rocked and the policeman takes even fondness for this man born from nowhere and who hasn't got any family. Despite Jake's nice words and his touching recognition, the clone commits suicide. But is he really dead? or is it a way to desappear to the eyes of the governmental so as to aspire to a new life?