On Oklahoma's Big Rock Prairie, a deaf boy finds a body in Pennington Creek. Johnston County Deputy Hannah Bond and Chickasaw Lighthorse Police Sergeant Bill Maytubby find a crime scene where nothing seems to fit--from the dead angler's oversize waders to the kind of fish in his creel. They scour the creekside brush, then hit the road for Texas in a widening search for the killer.
On the Big Rock, a towering bearded man is building a limestone replica of Roman Jerusalem for a Christian passion play. His cronies, who are in league with an interstate fraud ring, want the boy to disappear now.
Flying an ancient rented Cessna, Maytubby takes fire from a suspect he is tailing, while Bond combs river trails for traces of the killer.
While Maytubby and Bond try to protect the deaf boy and his mother from the crime ring, an improbable ally materializes from the prairie oak thickets, wielding a monstrous shotgun.