Journalist Madison Wade and her adopted teenage son, Ethan, have moved from Philadelphia to a small southern town in TN. Madison and Ethan are looked at as outsiders and Ethan has even more going against him than being from a northern big-city. Prior to living with Madison, he was a homeless orphan living on the streets mistrusting everyone. Madison thinks Ethan is finally getting accepted into the community when he is invited to join a camping trip into the mountains with his only friend, his friend’s step-dad and a couple of other boys. This supposedly innocent fun loving weekend becomes serious when one of the campers gets killed and the only witness is speechless from shock.
Sheriff Gabe Wyatt is attracted to town newcomer Madison Wade but isn’t too sure about her adopted son. While investigating the death of well liked and loved Mr. McP, Gabe is torn between where the evidence is leading him and his belief that Ethan may be innocent of everything. Matters get complicated when another of the boys that went camping is found dead; another leaves town and the one eyewitness attempts suicide.
In a separate case that Gabe is investigating is the use of steroids among the high school athletes. One player dies during practice and Madison starts a series of articles upsetting the town’s people. Suddenly, she’s getting threatening letters and the air is let out of her tires. When she is almost killed, Gabe wonders if it’s the news articles or the mess her son, Ethan has gotten into.
The characters in this book are real. Madison wanting to fight for what is right and not necessarily politically correct hitting small town feelings and politics was perfect. When letters to the editor accuse her of bringing her big city ways and looking for problems where there aren’t any bring into focus the differences of how people seeing issues. Gabe wants so much to believe in Ethan but knows that he can’t ignore the evidence that is building up against him. Even Ethan reacts the way you would expect a child that had no one to relay on for years. When the world starts looking bad, he acts as if it doesn’t matter.
But who is the killer and why would anyone want Mr. McP dead? The only thing that you know is the only eye witness has stated that he didn’t mean to do it. Who is the he; the eye witness or someone unknown? Did the other camper just get really drunk and fall to his death or did he have help? And though many people are positive that Ethan did it, how can he prove he didn’t or can he at all? With more questions than answers, Gabe and Madison use all of their resources to find the killer before the killer find Ethan.
In an effort to give her newly adopted teenage son, Ethan, a fresh start, Philadelphia journalist Madison Wade relocates to a small Tennessee town. When Ethan goes on a camping trip with three other teens and returns without their chaperone, Ethan's past casts him as suspect in a crime. The secrets Madison uncovers as she tries to clear her son brings danger from unexpected places and puts her at odds with the local sheriff -- a man who has been trying to win her heart.