Penn Cage is a successful writer. He gave up being a lawyer when he came back to live in his home town of Natchez, Mississippi, following the death of his wife. At first glance, the historic river town is an idyllic place to bring up a child. Beneath the surface, however, the community is stretched to breaking point by racial tension and civic corruption. Penn is at his daughter's school board meeting when the news breaks that a beautiful and brilliant seventeen-year-old student has just been found raped and murdered. That same evening, Penn's best friend Drew confesses to Penn that he has been having an affair with the girl and was planning to leave his wife for her. When Drew is accused of the murder, he asks Penn to defend him in the most explosive case the town has ever seen . . .
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