Ben Taylor is a police officer who leaves New York under questionable circumstances following the bombing of the World Trade Center. He returns to New England and takes a poorly paying job as a farm hand at Tanglewood Vineyards, where he had worked as a teenager.
Much has changed over the years. Michael Voracci, the grandson of the farm's founder now runs the operations. While marketing the vineyard's wine on his famous political family name, he has industrialized the rest of the farm, tearing out apple orchards and replacing them with plastic hydroponic greenhouses. Ben's memories of a happy workplace are completely washed away by Voracci's brutal warehouse manager, the grotesque and twisted Randy Caines, who routinely abuses and harasses the farm hands.
The novel begins when the young daughter of Tanglewood's wine master is kidnapped and murdered. Politics between the famous Voracci family and the local police threaten to brush the murder under the carpet until FBI Agent Walter Kumar arrives to investigate the kidnapping. Every character, including Ben Taylor, is a suspect from Kumar's perspective as well as the reader's.
To complicate matters, Taylor becomes reacquainted with his college sweetheart, Jennifer, who is now married to Michael Voracci, and lives a lonely life within the farmhouse and her gated backyard, with a piano as her only company. Jennifer suffers from nightmares and repressed memories. The truth behind her shadowed years of drugs, blackouts and her dominating husband begin to come to light, paralleling the murder investigation. All the while, the ghost of the young murdered girl haunts Taylor, telling him, “You are responsible.”
This report prepared by Heather Norman