On the eve of tourist season, the Door County police are about to release a list of area sex offenders, when Janell Margaris, the teenage daughter of a wealthy Chicago real estate developer, disappears near her summer home.
Joining the search team, Leigh combs the desolate Mink River area and stumbles upon a macabre murder scene—a girl’s dead body, carefully arranged to mimic sleep, except for her blonde hair, covering her face. Brushing the hair aside, a stunned Leigh discovers it’s not Janell, but her friend, Stephanie Everson, the last person to see Janell before she disappeared. The next day Janell is found hiding on the Washington Island ferry claiming no memory of where she has been.
Leigh’s investigation into Stephanie’s murder draws her into a bizarre and lethal correspondence with the killer. In his letters, the killer taunts her with a cryptic, literary clue: “The wheel has come full circle. I am here like a river running through her.” Before Leigh can crack the killer’s literary clue, a second young blonde woman’s body is found along the Mink River. Now Leigh races against time to decode the killer’s message before he kills again.