The Kills is a four-story narrative by Richard House. Each story is book-length and the narratives overlap, but these stories can be read in any order.
This story opens with John Jacob Ford who operates under the name Stephen Lawrence Sutler. He is in Iraq where contractors for a multinational corporation called HOSCO International are in every facet of supporting combat operations. One day, Sutler is told to run, but the building explodes before he can escape. He does end up surviving, and he wanders into the Iraqi desert with nothing but the codes to secret accounts where untold millions have been stashed. It then turns out a multimillion-dollar swindle was about to be exposed, and in return for taking the public fall and going underground, Sutler will be rewarded. He escapes but has difficulties trying to access the account and then an intense, multinational hunt for him begins.
While on the run, Sutler discovers that he has been scapegoated for all of HOSCO's embezzlements. His flight, under further false identities, takes him to Turkey, Malta, Germany and the French Alps, where he seems to vanish.
The second story focuses on the contractors stationed at Camp Liberty who are only tangentially involved with high-yield scams like the Massive. They were brought there by a man named Rem Gunnersen to do hazardous, frequently illegal grunt work contracted out by the military, like transport, security and toxic-waste incineration. The Massive also goes back to Gunnersen's unconventional hiring by Paul Geezler.
Throughout the first two volumes, there is discussion about a true-crime book called "The Kill" that is about a sensational unsolved homicide in Naples, Italy. Two brothers allegedly abducted an American tourist and left his dismembered remains in an apartment cellar, re-enacting a murder from a 1940s pulp novel. These grisly events (followed by an account of the writing of "The Kill" and a section set during the shooting of the film based on the book) make up the third volume.
The Hit is filled with dangerous Russian mobsters, relentless federal investigators, and a ruthless killer closing in on his prey. In the last story, we get to meet Rike, the sister-in-law of a man we briefly encounter in book two who is tasked with finding Sutler.