In the desperation of a deteriorating environment and a further declining economy, Detective Joe O'Malley investigates the mysterious death of a young girl. In the process he must cope with his own demons as the love he once lost becomes part of this twisted case. Another child goes missing. Has she met the same fate as the girl on the beach? Is she safe in the hands of the Rev. Michael Horner in his religious enclave on the edge of the Pacific Ocean or is there danger in the preacher's fanaticism? Is the child's wealthy and powerful father the real threat and how far will he go to reclaim his child, heir to the family legacy? And what has happened to her mother? Is her demential the cause of all this heartache or is she a victim too?

This tale of religious fanaticism, wealth, power and forbidden love plays out amid predictions of catastrophic volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. Who will survive the double threats of man and nature and what will their world be like?