Early October 2013, an experienced hunter goes into a remote section of the New Jersey Pine Barrens alone … and disappears.
Five days later his pet cocker spaniel is found in his abandoned and unlocked SUV with the keys still dangling from the ignition. His wallet and cell phone lie undisturbed on the dashboard. For a solid week the authorities comb the forbidding woods but come up empty.
Nine months later the case has gone cold. There have been no new leads in the deepening mystery. The ‘widow’ and her family are anxious to get closure and collect on the missing hunter’s sizeable life insurance policy. But the insurance company remains skeptical. Under pressure the company sends a small team back into the woods to conduct one final search for evidence of what may have happened to the missing man.
The team includes Kelly Martin the insurance field investigator, her live-in boyfriend Danny Windsor who has scored a plum assignment with the local newspaper and Tom Banks, a well-known local guide and professional tracker. Also along are Park Ranger Randi Lee and the enigmatic FBI agent, Russell Shaw. Kelly’s brother Geoffrey is paired with Noah Parsons, a former Coast Guard commander to monitor the expedition remotely under the watchful glare of an incredulous NJ State Police Lieutenant and the growing irritation of an uncooperative cranberry farmer.
Based in part on an actual event all signs point to something sinister as the search team runs into trouble from the start before sending them on an unexpected and dangerous adventure of their own. With a large payout hanging in the balance and a man’s fate lingering in mystery and doubt, every snapping twig, every falling leaf and every rustle of the wind will have your hair standing on edge.