A college town, Stoneleigh, Massachusetts, carries its share of secrets. Edward Inman, head of the very lucrative Stoneleigh Security, has been wandering the town in the dead of night lately, inexplicable bouts of insomnia driving him from his home lest he wake his wife and daughters. It has become Inmanís habit to patrol his customerís homes, to watch over his town.
On one of these nights, Edward picks up a somewhat inebriated college student: Connor Williams, son of the only other woman Inman has truly loved, Kathryn. As a result of that early morning encounter, Kathryn and Edward rekindle a romance both had turned away from years before, Edward in the awkward and painful position of confronting the deep problems in his marriage to a very vital and opinionated woman with ambitions of her own.
Other characters come clashing together in this tale of secrets, lies and the avoidance of responsibility. When college student Mary Steckl claims that she was assaulted by a wealthy man at his estate, Connor has direct knowledge of that situation, although he refuses to answer his motherís questions about it. Then there is the secret relationship between Stuart Symes, a professor at Stoneleigh working on his new novel while conducting a clandestine affair with Angela, a student in his creative writing class. Symes is also hiding secrets about the night of Maryís alleged attack.
Amidon tangles these disparate characters in a web of lies as an innocent girl is made the brunt of vicious gossip and a police department disinclined to arrest the wealthy man she has accused. Amidon deftly describes the individual dramas that create the conflicts: an unhappy husband who finds comfort in a former lover; an arrogant teacher who sells his soul to a profiteer and will go to any lengths to avoid the consequences of his actions; and a broken father whose every attempt to help his daughter makes things worse.
From Inmanís loveless marriage to Maryís motherless home, the emotional tenor of the novel is taut, uneasy, lives in transition as hysteria and gossip spread. The author captures this small town in all its rancorous detail, the meanness and mendacity of those whose reputations are threatened. But only the truth will settle this storm of accusation and reprisal, truth and a tragedy.