Ashley Smith attends Crow Creek Elementary and is the brightest student in Earle Pruitt’s fourth grade class. She volunteers as line leader, captains the book club, wins the spelling bee, and never misses a day of school. Not in almost five years. Not until Schreck, the impish gravedigger at Holt County Cemetery, snatches her from her bus stop one spring morning.
Shortly after Sheriff Brad Gleason organizes a search party, horror strikes from the nearby woods, claiming the lives of several locals. Mrs. Scott, who runs the town’s sawmill, witnesses the attack. So does Curly, a gullible deputy. They can’t believe what they see. Nobody can.
The impending chase leads to Queensboro, an insidious town along the Haw River and home to Carolina EnTech, a medical research laboratory run by Margaret Ganis, whose prominent birthmark and ruthless fear tactics earn her the cryptic nickname the Red Queen in the local press.
Recently, Carolina EnTech invested in Jacobs Court, luxury apartments they renovated for the corporate executives who displaced poorer inhabitants.
And others, of course—many who disappeared without a trace.