Baltimore, 1966. A twelve-year-old girl is about to discover that some monsters are real.
Dara Burke doesn't get invited to a lot of birthday parties. Always a square peg in the round hole of Linden Way, she prefers dodgeball to dolls and has never once backed down from a fight. Growing up with three brothers, she knows a girl needs sharp elbows and a big voice to get her way. Dara has both.
But so far 1966 has been a disaster for the Burke family. Even though her parents are divorcing, they still yell at Dara to be more ladylike. But Dara tries not to mind. It's almost summer vacation. Then she and her best friend Fran—another square peg—can hang out. Even if her dopey little brother Alvey often tags along.
Then one cool spring day the dead boy whispers in Dara's ear, warning her about the bad man who was coming.
On the other side of Baltimore, Patrolman Stan Gorsky lives the good life in the land of pleasant living. He loves his family and likes his job. But then the first little boy dies, changing everything. Soon Stan finds himself in the crosshairs of a murder investigation into a calculating serial killer.
More death and strange incidents occur. As a dark web tightens around Dara and those she loves, Patrolman Stan Gorsky frantically trails a merciless killer, the bad man who hunts the little children of Baltimore. Only a twelve-year-old girl and a single police officer stand against the bad man.
In this countdown to murder, who will survive?