Norman Bates (disguised as a nun) escapes from the mental asylum where he was committed at the end of the first novel. The police believe that Bates did not survive his escape attempt because of a fire. However, a growing body count causes his doctor to suspect that Bates is headed to Hollywood where a movie based upon his real-life murders is being filmed. He then goes there. In the end, it transpires that Bates was killed not long after escaping and it was the doctor who committed the murders.