With his wife Maxine out of town, Artie Cohen is alone in Manhattan when his nephew Billy Farone is released for a couple of weeks from the young offenders' institution where he has been since he stabbed Heshey Shank to death. Artie is the one Billy wants to come home to, the only person Billy cares about, the man Billy wants to be. Now a handsome, intelligent and funny boy of fourteen, Billy seems to be cured, to be free of whatever it was - sickness, evil - that made him kill Shank. Artie believes, wants desperately to believe, that Billy is ok. But from the moment a small plane crashes on to the beach at Coney Island, bombs go off in London, and New York is shaken out of the sense that the bad times are over, Artie begins to wonder. There are signs that Heshey Shank's family want Billy locked up for good. And Billy's mother doesn't want him coming home. Then bodies begin to appear and Artie, up against a brick wall of his own hope and despair, doesn't know what or whom to believe...