Forty and jobless, Acey Albert Tapp faces his mother's illness and his own personal inadequacies. He meets Webster McMunn, an aging private investigator. Attracted to the open-ended life of a sleuth, and anxious to give his mother a reason to be proud of her sole offspring, Acey hooks up with the PI, and is forced to take top billing when his boss is hospitalized. He is pulled into a double web of mystery: that of a shoeless man found dead in a Dumpster, and that of a local woman missing for almost half a century. Acey discovers a connection between the two cases. At the same time, what appears to be a run of bad luck strips him of all he holds dear - his mother, girlfriend, vehicle, residence and reputation.
With Webb's help, Acey rebounds. Clues crystallize and take Acey and Webb on a journey of discovery. They unearth long-ago multiple murders in a small Canadian town, and at the same time begin to learn of each other's personal tragedy. The murders lead them back home and to the impossible task of nailing an unknown suspect.
An anonymous letter informs Acey that his mother was murdered. The writer of the letter is found deceased. A suspect is identified and tailed. The suspect dies in a collision with a train.