The new mayor of a small town in Illinois unearths a series of devastating secrets when he re-opens a 30-year-old murder investigation 17-year-old Betty Jo Dean was abducted and murdered thirty years ago. It took two days to find her body. She was found, fully dressed apart from her slacks, beneath a gnarled, stunted tree, shot in the back of the head. No one was ever charged with her murder. Now, following an appeal from one of his constituents, Mayor Mac Bassett has called for the case to be re-opened. But when the body is exhumed, it is revealed that the skull, found loose in the coffin, does not belong to Betty Jo. If Mac could discover why Betty Jo's head was taken, he would be one step closer to finding out who killed her. But no one in the small town of Grand Point is talking. Sheriffs, doctors, medical examiners: everyone seems to be warning Mac off. And then people start dying.