The rules never mattered much to Frank Corso, rogue reporter, successful true crime writer, and honorable loner with a dangerous edge. The fact that two Texas troopers have a warrant with his name on it means nothing to him -- except run -- which he does in the company of photojournalist Meg Dougherty, his former lover and perhaps one true friend. But the running stops when a furious Midwestern blizzard sends their car crashing to the bottom of an icy hill, and they are forced to seek an escape from the storm in an abandoned Wisconsin house of horrors.
In a shed outside their temporary shelter a shocking discovery awaits Meg and Corso: human bones -- a lot of them -- the grisly remains of Eldred Holmes and his family. A hideous crime undetected for fifteen years is about to become a top priority for the understaffed local law, who want Corso to investigate. His first move will be to somehow locate the one family member who escaped the carnage, Eldred's wife, Sissy, whose skeleton is not among the others ... and whose face has been neatly scissored from every picture in the Holmes family album.
With only eight days to solve a multiple homicide, Corso begins a hunt that will carry him halfway across the country and through a chilling history of violence, terror, and bloodshed that spreads from the small town of Avalon, Wisconsin, to the remote farmlands of New York State. And his single-minded pursuit will make Corso a marked man -- the target of a rage- driven maniac, a master of cunning reinvention -- as he draws closer to the shocking truth that's hidden away in an isolated mountain community, where no law protects the innocent.