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Teenager Mary Ellen Parteger, daughter of the sheriff of Latimer Falls, Vermont, drops off a favorite family cookie recipe ...
Teenager Mary Ellen Parteger, daughter of the sheriff of Latimer Falls, Vermont, drops off a favorite family cookie recipe to Deputy Gabby Grimm late one afternoon in early spring, still wearing her red fleece hoodie, and drives off on her merry way, armed with her new driver's license and a warning from Deputy Grimm to drive safely. Hours later, up at Pinkins Pass for a romantic rendezvous under the stars with her Army Special Forces boyfriend, Sam Hogan, Gabby unexpectedly finds the Parteger family car abandoned in the parking lot, Mary Ellen's purse still on the seat.
Snatched by a couple of creeps hired for the job by the vicious gangster Rufus Parteger put behind bars back when he was a cop in Providence, Rhode Island, the missing girl is in real peril and the Latimer Falls Sheriff's Department is forced to call in the Vermont State Police for help. Only one problem -- there's a bad apple with a bad secret hiding in plain sight, and he poses a threat to everyone.
Forced to flee on short notice, the sheriff and the rest of his brood hit the road in a desperate attempt to escape. One thing is clear -- Willie Dumfries has a far more extensive and powerful reach than anyone imagined -- corruption abounds, thanks to his vast, multi-state criminal empire, and jurisdictions get blurred as the crimes start to mount.
When Mary Ellen is snatched a second time, this time right out of the Vermont Department of Public Safety building, it's abundantly clear there's a serious leak somewhere. An unofficial hostage rescue team is quickly assembled from an odd mix of deputies, state troopers, FBI agents, and Special Forces soldiers. Their mission? Rescue the girl from the hired torturers, catch the corrupt cop in their midst, and find the missing Parteger family before Willie can finish the job.