On the night of a raging electrical storm, a group of teenage boys gather on a secluded hill in Oregon to bury one of their own…alive. It isn’t murder, because the “victim” is a willing participant. For sneering, knife-wielding punk Whitey Dobbs it’s just a gang-initiation stunt. For the others, however, it’s a carefully planned act of revenge – designed to give Whitey Dobbs the fright of his life. But even the best-laid plans can go wrong. And when this joke is over, nobody will be laughing…except maybe Whitey Dobbs.
Twenty-two years later, the events of that stormy night are a distant memory. The boys involved are now respected men in their hometown—the sheriff, the mayor, a congressman, even a Nobel Prize-winning physicist whose achievement has put tiny Black Valley, Oregon, on the map. Yet in spite of his newfound prestige, Dr. Dean Truman is a haunted man, tied to Black Valley by a personal horror even his old friends know nothing about. But now his reclusive life as a widowed college professor is about to be uprooted forever. Change is in the air in Black Valley. And something inescapable is, too.
As the NxTech corporation makes plans to build a research facility in town, Dean is torn between protecting the local environment and supporting the economic boom that the company created. But when a mysterious drifter arrives in Black Valley, bringing a wave of grisly and bizarre killings with him, Dean’s battle with his conscience will give way to a much more desperate fight: for his sanity, for the survival of his friends and neighbors, and for his own life. Besieged by strange phenomena and an old familiar dread, the people of Black Valley have nowhere to run as the dark past threatens to collide with the present…and consume the future.