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On a humid summer evening in 1963, following a hard day's work in the field, twelve-year-old Paul Graves came home to a nightmare. Snatched by a stranger, strapped to a chair in a sweltering farmhouse, he watched in horror as the man orchestrated the slow, deliberate, night-long brutalization and murder of his older sister....
Now, more than thirty years later, Graves is a marginally successful writer who has lost himself in the anonymity of Manhattan and in the mind-numbing world of his crime fiction. But still held captive by his memories, still haunted by this sister's agonized whispers, he writes chilling tales of cruelty and sadism, of evil triumphing over good. Stories so convincing, they have earned him an invitation to the Riverwood Estate. But not to practice his craft as a writer. Alison Davies, who runs the retreat, is convinced he's the one man capable of bringing closure to the mystery that has haunted her own family, asking him to investigate the fifty-year-old unsolved murder of 16-year-old Faye Harrision, Alison's best friend, who was tortured, strangled, and left to molder in the dark confines of a cave.
Graves, more than anyone, knows where to look for the truth, where the instruments of night are brought to bear: In the deep basements, the dark caves, the lonely farmhouses where cowardice bows before corruption, where love cannot withstand the intimidation and pain. Compelled to peer into the chaos of twisted motives and tainted passions, he will confront the ultimate atrocity. Not about who killed Faye Harrison, or who killed his sister. Not about what he has witnessed and could never reveal. But about what he is capable of...and what he has done.