Four high school boys lure a Native American student to a meeting and gang rape her. The woman, Melissa Little Bird, suffers from fetal alcohol syndrome and her reasoning powers are limited.
The trial ends with a light sentence for the boys and no jail time. The Indian community is incensed at the light sentence.
Two years later, the ring leader is shot dead in a rural field.
The sheriff, Walt Longmere is attempting to figure the killing out when another of the boys involved in the rape is also killed in the same manner as the previous boy.
Now the sheriff knows he's dealing with a revenge killing and wonders if he will be able to protect the other boys who were involved in the rape.
We follow the story with interesting characters and crisp dialogue. The setting is well described but some of the characters didn't ring true.
In particular, Walt, who is a grossly overweight boozhound living in a home he began building years ago but when his wife died, he stopped building. The home doesn't even have a door on the bathroom. In addition, Walt is a Viet Nam vet and must be in his sixties. With this background, his friend, Henry Standing Bear, is trying to fix him up and encourage him to begin dating again. We also learn that other women in town, inclucing a bright young police officer are attracted to Walt. I don't see the attraction and feel that the way he is described would turn most women completely off.
The conclusion is long coming and when it does, the actions of one of the central characters were directly opposite to the personality and description of this caracter up to that point.
All in all, there were many well done scenes and it is easy to see why this author has had success with his later novels.