Seventy-five years ago, a madman nicknamed the Torso Killer terrorized Cleveland. His horrific spree lasted four years and crisscrossed the entire city. Overall, he was credited with more than a dozen murders. And he was never caught.
Today, forensic scientist Theresa MacLean is called to an abandoned building where a desiccated, decapitated body has been found in a room that's been sealed off for years. Although there's no immediate proof, everyone assumes the same thing: that the newly discovered corpse was a Torso Killer victim. The body has decayed beyond recognition, leaving few forensic clues, but Theresa sees this as an opportunity to shed some light on a big piece of Cleveland's past that until now has been shrouded in mystery.
But then another body -- this one recently deceased -- turns up, and all signs at the scene seem to indicate the work of a new Torso Killer. Suddenly, Theresa's investigation takes on a whole new meaning. Her examination of the old body has opened a door to the past -- a door someone wanted to keep closed -- and she shifts her focus from solving a historical puzzle to catching a very dangerous, present-day psychopath.
But as the body count rises, Theresa finds herself nearer to danger than she ever imagined. For the killer is keeping a watchful eye on Theresa, and she begins to feel his presence everywhere. Each step brings them closer and closer to each other -- at one point separated by no more than a speeding train in a railroad switchyard -- as Theresa scours the city in her hunt for a murderous lunatic intent on reliving a terrifying past.