VAN NUYS, CA—All her life, 23-year-old Candi Jacobs has been a by-the-book, no-nonsense type, singlemindedly dedicated to one thing–her career in law enforcement.

Sgt. Candi Jacobs of the Van Nuys (CA) police department.

One of the youngest officers ever to make sergeant on Van Nuys' police force, Jacobs is regarded by her peers as one of the department's toughest customers.

But when a string of brutal murders rocked the town's seamy red-light district, she knew she had to act—and act fast—before the dreaded maniac struck again.

"Somebody out there is gunning for strippers," said the stunning, 5'9" blonde, her heavy-lidded eyes shooting a smoky glance across the room. "And it's up to me to stop them."

Last Wednesday, when the first stripper's body was discovered face-down in a neon-lit, litter-strewn alleyway, dressed only in flimsy underthings and showing three bullet holes in her exposed midriff, Jacobs knew something had to be done.

But as the body count mounted, and the community's exotic-dance-industry professionals became ever more afraid to walk the streets at night, she came up with a plan. She would trap the deranged maniac in an undercover sting operation–using her own body as bait.

"I know the danger is enormous, but it's something I just have to face," said Jacobs, pulling up a lacy, thigh-high fishnet stocking and clipping it gingerly to her black lace garter as she spoke. "I've got to catch this killer by entering his world, by immersing myself in a maze of subterranean vice, lust and sin. And, even worse, no one must know my new identity. If I'm going to stop this maniac, I'll have to do it on my own—alone in the urban jungle of the steamy night."

For Jacobs to carry out her desperate plan, code-named Operation Brutal Instinct, she will need more than just courage. To pull off the illusion, she will need to get in touch with a whole new side of herself, one that, until now, has remained buried under her strict devotion to justice and duty. She must learn to awaken the smoldering passions she has too long denied—and unleash the sexual animal within.

"I'll have to explore the dark side of my own burning desire. And the scariest part is, I might begin to like it," Jacobs said, the right side of her face obscured by shadow as she exhaled deeply through a thick haze of cigarette smoke. "I'm headed down a dangerous path, and there's no telling where it will all end. Will my journey into my own hidden obsessions lead to new horizons of sexual release and ecstasy–or to intrigue, betrayal and murder?"

According to leading forensic psychologists, Jacobs' fears are well-founded.

The seedy strip club where Sgt. Jacobs will go undercover and slowly discover her untamed, erotic side, unleashing the sexual animal within.

"I find this scenario all too familiar," said FBI psychiatric profiler Dr. Julian Sands, his face and bare upper torso striped with shadows cast by venetian blinds. "I've seen dozens of cases just like this one, in the field, in case histories, and on Cinemax After Dark. Nine times out of ten, a tough cop like Jacobs goes into the case with the best of motives, but then finds herself more and more wrapped up in a web of deception and lust. In 90 percent of cases, the officer's dark side takes over and seduces her into a provocative, soft-R world she never knew, until she finds herself wondering: 'What am I becoming?'"

Sands said the most significant question facing Jacobs is, "In this deadly game of cat and mouse, is she the hunter? Or the hunted?"

Dr. William Katt, a behavioral analyst specializing in criminal psychiatry, agreed with Sands, adding that the prospects for Jacob do not bode well.

"Jacobs' scheme is extremely inadvisable," the handsome Katt, his face shaded by a rough layer of stubble, explained. "I have studied numerous undercover investigations in which a tough-but-sexually-naïve beauty risks being consumed by her own dark desires because of her insatiable lust for revenge. In my professional medical opinion, there is every reason to believe that, during the course of this investigation, Officer Jacobs will become entangled with a dark, mysterious stranger—a man who at first appears frightening, then enigmatic, then superficially sympathetic, and, finally, steamily erotic—a man who may or may not be the killer."

According to Katt, this romance will be a source of great internal turmoil for Jacobs, who will be irresistibly drawn to the man despite his status as chief suspect in the murder investigation.

"I foresee numerous, increasingly intense sexual liaisons," he said, "although none of them will involve any nudity below the waist, except for a possible glimpse of rear end."

Katt went on to predict that, in the end, Jacobs won't know where to turn—or who to trust.

"Trapped, with nowhere to turn," he said, standing under a flickering electric sign with the distant rumble of train tracks audible in the background, "unable to distinguish truth from fantasy."

Because of the high likelihood of such events, Van Nuys police chief Lou Phillips has strongly opposed Jacobs' plan. "This is dangerous territory for a tough, glamorous woman who's just let her emotional guard down and made herself sexually vulnerable for the first time," Phillips said. "The whole thing stinks. In my opinion, someone's got to find this cop, break through the charade, and stop her before it's too late."

Nevertheless, Jacobs shows no intention of obeying her superior's wishes. "They can't take me off this case," she said, her heavily made-up eyes squinting in grim determination. "This is something I've got to do."

Jacobs then pulled off her brassiere and began to take a shower for no discernible reason.