Drew Elliott is a small town doctor with a stellar reputation. Penn Cage is a lawyer who returned to his hometown to raise his daughter after his wife's death. When the body of seventeen-year-old Kate Townsend is found near the Mississippi River, Drew confides to Penn that he was sexually involved with the girl. She was twenty years his junior, not to mention a patient. Drew swears he is innocent of Kate's death and begs Penn for legal counsel.
Penn feels compelled to investigate Kate's murder himself, but he must turn to Mia Burke, his daughter's babysitter and a classmate of the dead girl, for help. Mia serves as Penn's guide into the secret world of the elite high school, where Penn soon learns that Kate Townsend was not the All-American girl everyone believed. Exploring a surreal world of adolescent sex, drugs, apathy, and violence, Penn is forced to reevaluate his view of his old high school, his best friend, his hometown, and even himself. Foremost in his mind is one question: Could my best friend have murdered a seventeen-year-old girl? Penn's heart tells him Drew is innocent of murder, but his gut tells him Drew is lying about something else. By the time Penn arrives at the shattering truth, Iles has spun a tale so shocking, this quiet Southern town will never be the same.
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