Terror and violent death are loose in the Catlins of New Zealand’s South Island. An animal kills only for food. The Catlin’s killer is not an animal, but a monster with another reason to kill. What is that reason? Gloria Stuart’s dead body is found in her remote farmhouse in the Clutha Valley; brutally murdered, stabbed to death in a savage attack. In the main bedroom the unconscious form of her husband Angus is found, covered in blood and reeking of alcohol. The jury’s verdict is delivered in a short time. Guilty as charged; ‘life imprisonment,’ said the judge. The one child of this marriage was son Andrew, sixteen years old and in his first year of extended study at University. Since the cradle father and son had been at odds with each other and on many occasions Angus had invited Andrew to leave home. ‘Don’t come back, ever.’ With the death of his mother Andrew had more reason to hate his father. He broke from school and travelled the world. Angus serves fourteen years of a life sentence before being freed. He returns to his home, the scene of the crime where a week later he is found hanging dead in the hallway. A note to his son begs for forgiveness. Andrew’s love for his mother was the ultimate. He returns with bitterness in his heart unable to forgive. His purpose is to claim his heritage and sell the land with its derelict home, but he is puzzled by the fact someone has been tending his mother’s grave. Andrew finds death and fear stalk the valley. The Otago towns have been troubled by the disappearance of children and strangers are met with the same distrust as that extended to locals. He finds his land is a sought after commodity and stalls over an offer from a local land baron who has had ownership of the land on a perpetual lease since the killing. Andrew is reunited with his sole surviving relative, Blind Robbie, a blind banjo picking grandfather who settled in the Catlins as a pioneer in the days of steam and logging. As Andrew learns of his family history from Blind Robbie the house of secrets on the banks of the River Clutha burns and Andrew is drawn deeply into another disappearance which threatens the new relationships he is establishing.