Jake Leonard has more than his share of trouble. He’s close to 40 now and still suffers from bipolar disorder and the painful memories of the psychotic episodes that derailed his life and sent him behind bars.
He lives in the rural South, where he spends his days breaking horses and his nights training dogs in solitude. His 19-year-old girlfriend Nikki is the daughter of the sheriff, and she’s just getting worse with drugs, alcohol, and satanic metal.
He does his best to persuade her to ease up on them, but he’s buying weed from her for a friend who’s grown fatally ill. Things go from bad to worse when Nikki has a breakdown and gets involved in heroin and low-budget porn.
She no longer wants to see Jake, after a tragedy makes them drift apart. Jake reconnects with his ex-wife Michelle, who he’s never stopped loving, but she’s remarried with a young daughter, so their relationship can’t be more than private flings.
Soon, chaos unfolds like a pocketknife. The sheriff takes Jake for an ominous ride into the woods; Michelle’s new husband finds out about their affair; Jake turns violent in an effort to save Nikki from ruthless captors; the whole town erupts in a sea of flames; dogs sink their teeth into flesh; Jake’s murderous history is revealed, and before long, he finds himself spinning toward the inner demons that he’s worked so hard to escape.
The novel is similar to the works of Cormac McCarthy, Stewart O’ Nan, Daniel Woodrell, or Larry Brown.