A serial killer is operating in the college town of Hamilton, New Hampshire. John Stella, a former Philadelphia policeman, is a forensic psychologist on the faculty of Windham University there. He agrees to help his formar colleague and current Chief of Detectives in Hamilton, Frank Fiamella, solve the brutal murder of an eighty-four year old widow. There are virtually no forensics at the murder scene. But John also has his own problems to deal with. Eric Wainbrod, star of the physics department has made it a crusade to block John's tenure application and, more importantly, is seeking to bring John's eldest son under his wing and guide his future. Frank meanwhile is dealing with his dteriorating marriage, the result of the conviction of his wife's brother for arson and murder. A native of Hamilton, she is being shunned by most of the town and is taking it out on Frank.
Before the investigation gets very far, Johnis nearly killed by an SUV during a morning run, as the vehicle deliberately veers toward him. Additionally, the chairman of the university's trustees is brutally murdered in very much the same manner as he widow. The unwinding ofll these crimes takes both John and Frank down a very twisted path that leads both to the present and into the past.