A lyrical voice from the South weaves a searing psychological drama around a small town shocked by its first murder, hurtling a calm and complacent community into a harrowing realm of alienation and distrust. Essex, South Carolina, is a town where doors are never locked—until an elderly widow is murdered in her bed. Stoney McFarland and his wife Anna have returned to his hometown in hopes of rebuilding their connection. But Stoney’s obsession with the murder investigation, his efforts to restore the town, threaten deeply buried secrets other townspeople are desperate to suppress. From eerie voodoo rituals in the mist-shrouded swamps, to the Old South matriarch who fears a dead woman, to the Civil Rights activist searching for the mother who abandoned her, the town is soon fractured by the twin perils of public danger and private exposure. The story reaches a devastating climax when it becomes clear what some people will do to protect the place they love. A lushly atmospheric novel that confronts complex ideas about bigotry, love, and modern society.