As a fourteen-year-old black boy living in 1940s South Carolina, Linus Bragg should know better than to follow two white girls on bicycles. But something about Sue Ellen and Cindy Lou compels him. Whatever the reason, he follows the girls into the woods. It's the worst mistake he ever makes. When he comes into the clearing, both girls are dead and young Linus is the natural suspect. Forty years later, a nephew of Linus's returns to South Carolina, curious about this dark moment in his family's past. To find the fourth person who visited the clearing that day means re-opening a sinister chapter of the small town's history, which certain men thought had closed forever.