Lieutenant Joe Gunther is in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom investigating a minor embezzling case. It's a pleasant distraction and a chance to reconnect with old friends, but when a house fire reveals itself to be arson, compounded by murder, Gunther can't help but investigate. He quickly finds himself enmeshed in a web of animosity between put-upon townspeople, the state police, angry parents, and members of a reclusive sect. Murder follows murder, yet no one seems to be telling Gunther the whole truth - not even his childhood friends. And truth is what he desperately needs if he's to stop the killings.