When Detective Dave Robicheaux's daughter, Alafair, declares her intention to interview a convicted serial killer called Asa Surette, he does all he can to dissuade her. Dave has always encouraged her ambitions as a writer, but as a father he doesn't want her to be exposed to a man so nakedly evil. And his fears seem well founded when Alafair is visibly shocked by the encounter.
Two years later, the horror Surette evoked is all but forgotten, as Dave and his family are vacationing amidst the natural beauty of Montana. But evil, it seems, has followed them into this wild paradise. Someone is stalking Alafair, and Dave begins to suspect that it's Surette - even though he officially died when the prison truck he was being transported in collided with an oil tanker. Is Alafair now the target of one of the most depraved serial killers ever to have been caught, or has she unwittingly crossed paths with a murderous psychopath closer to home?