Life is looking up for Mary Crow. She has a new love in Victor Galloway, a new job in Tsalagi County, and a new killer to convict. Teofilo Owle is a vicious, wily criminal who for years has eluded justice through trickery and intimidation. Now even Mother Nature seems to be helping Teo escape the law, as a monster snowstorm bears down upon the Appalachian mountains.
As the blizzard roars in, Mary's awakened by a strange phone call. She listens, stunned, as a young caller claims to be Lily Walkingstick, the daughter of Mary's old love, Jonathan. The girl tells a wild tale of fleeing from gunmen and hiding in a mountain pass called Unaka. She's begging Mary for help when her call is lost in a barrage of static.
Mary is dumbfounded. She hasn't heard from either Jonathan or Lily in years, and the call smacks of a Teo Owle trick. But the girl's terrified voice haunts her − what if it really was Lily, in trouble? Can she ignore the pleas of a girl she'd once loved as her own?
Ultimately, Mary decides that she must act. Quickly packing her gear, she heads into the mountains. Though she finds Lily, the girl's rescue is far from assured. Predators are stalking Lily and moving in for the kill. Soon Mary must keep them both alive as they pick their way through the white trees and crimson snow.