When two girls, aged nine and ten are abducted and killed in Wind Gap, Missouri, Camille Preaker is sent back to her home town to investigate and report on the crimes. Camille, self-described 'white trash from old money', is the daughter of one of the richest families in town. Long-haunted by a childhood tragedy and estranged from her mother for years, Camille suddenly finds herself installed once again in her family's Victorian mansion, reacquainting herself with her distant mother and the half-sister she barely knows, a precocious 13-year-old who holds a disquieting grip on the town and surrounds herself with a group of vampish teenage girls. As Camille struggles to remain detached from the evidence, her relationship with her neurotic, hypochondriac mother threatens to topple her hard-won mental stability. Working alongside the police chief and a special agent from out of town, Camille tries to uncover the mystery of who killed these little girls and why. But there are deeper psychological puzzles: Why does Camille identify so strongly with the dead girls? And how is this connected to the death of another sister years earlier?