Mid-July in Texas
Cicadas shed their dry summer skins, the scent of roses hangs heavy in the still air, and a woman sits alone on her porch at dusk, watching the empty, merciless prairie, its light falling to darkness. He's coming home.
Upstairs, Lizzie knows, her daughters are safe in their beds. Joanne, still young enough to smile at strangers, one last summer of childhood left in her. Katie, already a beauty, the first flush of womanhood blooming on her skin. Both sleeping soundly. But out beyond the boundary of their land, the townspeople sleep fitfully.
Too many have heard that Jasper is coming back - folk who know him of old, who remember what he did - men who will make it their business to see he doesn't stay too long round these parts...