Frank LeBrun is a psychotic murderer looking for a new start, while Jessica is a 15-year old stripper escaping her abusive father and apathetic mother. Both wind up at Bishop's Hill Academy, a school in New Hampshire for rich, troubled students; one as an assistant cook, the other as a pupil. The uninspired and jaded faculty seems to be marking time until the schools imminent closure. James Hawthorne is selected as the new headmaster with emotional and psychological baggage of his own. He has been offered the chance to turn around the beleaguered school in one year or it will be forced to close its doors.
The troubles for the headmaster, recently relocated from San Diego, begin quickly and escalate as one of the schools faculty commits suicide and a young student is found floating in the schools indoor pool. Hawthorne is constantly tormented by thoughts of his own failings in the past, an extramarital affair and a relationship with a troubled student that may have resulted to the deaths of his wife and daughter. The state and local police are piecing together a profile on a killer who murders with an ice pick and they are following that trail to Bishop's Hill. With a bitter, snowy winter enveloping the remote school the mystery of who is sabotaging the school and trying to frighten Hawthorne is not really a secret. The key antagonists are known but it is the extent to which they will go that remains to be seen.
This report prepared by David Fletcher