In a tale reflective of the breakdown of a family, the McClouds of Cold Falls are shocked when the body of their patriarch, Daniel McCloud, is found buried inside a trunk in the woods. The discovery breaks the agreement that has existed between members of this family since that terrible day seven years ago, when Danís wife, Ada, found a suicide note left for her to read on a single sheet of paper. According to the note, Dan had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and had decided to take his own life.
Adaís son-in-law Nate, now the town sheriff, is convinced that Dan was murdered.
This devastating revelation effectively jumpstarts an investigation into the case and fuels much of the drama that follows. While James, the eldest son, returns to Cold Falls after years away, his two siblings, Celeste and Billy, have tried over the years to navigate the rocky roads of temperance with varying degrees of success.
Celeste, now married to Nate, is torn between her husband and her family. The youngest, Billy, the family black sheep, feels numb, the revelation just another
inching step toward his perfect disinterest in everything. Ada finds her life turned upside down. Possessed of her own secrets, Ada is terrified of the small-town rumors, the whispers and giggling, the stares and knowing looks.
When a Cold Falls High School ring belonging to James is found by Danís body, the evidence is damning
- Nate arrests James for the murder. Whether James is guilty or not is beside the point.
At this stage, it seems to be payback time between Nate and James, the silent animosity between them caused by events surrounding A.J. and Rebecca Derry, once longtime friends of Dan and Ada McCloud.
When Charly, Danís lawyer girlfriend, arrives to help prove Jamesís innocence, another layer of intense drama is added to this story.
Through Charlyís investigations, a dark secret begins to unfurl, along with allegations of rape and an unwanted pregnancy and the revelation that Nancy, Nateís step-sister and a childhood girlfriend of James, was secretly sent away to Maine under a cloud of ambiguity.
Combining elements of family drama and murder mystery, the author strikes a delicate balance as the McCloud family are once again drawn together and the old sibling dynamics resurface. Capturing the hormone-driven frustrations of adolescence, Celeste, James and Billy are thrust amid the uniquely the stifling mores of suburbia.
The familyís deception, along with their daily masquerade and the creepy tentacles of a violent history - gradually come full circle in Fordís haunting and enigmatic tale of stifled memories and passionate revelations.