This is the first novel in the "Liz McNearney" noir mystery series. (Two more to be published in 2014 an 2015.) In 1936, Sylvia, a disturbed young woman, living in Portland's shantytown, desperately searches for her fantasy mother. Lizabet McNearney, a veteran journalist, returns home to Portland from Rome to investigate the suicide of her brother, a Catholic priest. Liz is forced to relive her childhood bereft of love, filled with horror and shame. Liz's investigation crosses paths with Sylvia and both are drawn into the world of a diabolic killer known only as "The Death."