Two years after his father’s mysterious disappearance, Jim Hawkins is coping — barely. Underneath, he’s frozen in uncertainty and grief. What did happen to his father? Is he dead or just gone? Then Jim meets Ruth Rose. Moody, provocative, she’s the bad-girl stepdaughter of Father Fisher, Jim’s father’s childhood friend and the town pastor, and she shocks Jim out of his stupor when she tells him her stepfather is a murderer. “Don’t you want to know who he murdered?” she asks. Jim doesn’t. Ruth Rose is clearly crazy — a sixteen-year-old misfit. Yet something about her fierce conviction pierces Jim’s shell. He begins to burn with a desire for the truth, until it becomes clear that it may be more unsettling than he can bear. What is the real meaning of the strange prayers Father Fisher intones behind the door of his private sanctuary? Why does Ruth Rose suddenly disappear? And what really happened thirty years ago when a boy died in a burning house?