As the novel begins, young Rob Coogan's biggest challenge is determining if he should pursue life as a musician or as a professional footballer playing in England. In the time of The Irish Troubles, Coogan unwittingly plays a part in an IRA car bomb detonation that takes the lives of his adoring younger siblings. He leaves Ireland for a prestigious music school in Boston, where he begins life as a guitarist and songwriter. In church one night, he discovers the younger brother of a friend being molested by the priest. The choice he makes that night sets his life down an unforeseen path of justice, rage, and secrets.