The book starts out in October of 1980, with a little girl named Lorna Stiles talking to her best friend Melinda about her birthday dress. Lorna tells Melinda not to wear her birthday dress, because her mother had told her not to. Lorna knew that Melinda's mother was very strict with a bad temper and she did not want anything bad happening to her best friend on her birthday. Lorna had seen Melinda with bruises and cuts on her before, and although Melinda never told her what really happened, Lorna knew that her mother and her mean brother Jason hit and abused Melinda. The day of Melinda's birthday, when she wore her new dress to Lorna's house for birthday cake, was the last time that anyone every seen Melinda Eagan. After cake, Jason Eagan came to Lorna's house and told Melinda it was time to come home. Lorna's mother offered to drive them because it was getting dark outside, but Melinda and Jason said they could walk. Melinda told Lorna's mother thank you for the cake, and that was the last time Lorna ever saw her best friend. When Melinda's mother called the police to report her daughter missing, there was a big investigation, but the little girl was never found. Most of the people in the town always believed that her mother or her brother had killed her. The suspicion turned on Melinda's brother Jason years later when he disappeared.
The next chapter starts in Callen, Pennsylvania, in August of 2005. Lorna was on her way back to her childhood home to take care of her mother's estate. She returns to her childhood home to see that nothing had changed. It was still painted the same, had the same trees in the yard, and looked the same as she remembered it. She had only come home to spread her mother's ashes in the places that she wished, sell the house, and then return to her normal life. She soon learns that the fields behind her house are being turned into the Estates at Palmers Woods. She sees that there are medical examiners and police in the backfields. When she investigates, she finds out that human bones were found in between her house and her old best friend's house. She talks to a local cop that she knew as a child, and he fills her in on what is going on. They had found human bones, but the clothing is almost completely disintegrated, so they have to do tests to find out how old the bones really are. Since there was a family burial plot on the farm, they do not know if the bones came from that or from somewhere else. Soon enough, they find that the bones discovered in the field belonged to Jason Eagan, Melinda's older brother. The police then decide that Jason was Melinda's murderer, and he deserved to die, no matter what way it happened.
Lorna almost believes the local police about what happened to Jason and Melinda, until many other human bones are found buried in the field. It is almost as if somebody has been burying bodies in the field behind her home for many years. Lorna has many questions about what happened the night that Melinda disappeared, so she hires T.J. Dawson, a handsome private eye, to help her on her investigation. She needs him to investigate the boys who were hanging out with Melinda's older brother Jason the night that Melinda disappeared. She thinks that maybe one of them saw something that may help them along in the investigation, or maybe one of them was actually the killer. She has many questions for many people, including Mrs. Eagan, Melinda's mother. Lorna learns that Mrs. Eagan has been staying in her mother's guesthouse for many years, which surprises Lorna, since her mother never seemed to really like Mrs. Eagan because of the way she treated her children.
Join Lorna and T.J. Dawson on their journey to find out who the small town killer is. You will find out if he was someone from the community, or an outsider. You will also find out what Lorna decides to do with her mother's estate, and if she will stay in contact with the very handsome private eye, T.J. Dawson.