In the heat of a Western New York summer, a new breed of killer emerges, plunging Philicity into chaos. Ichabod Bitterlich, an upper-class playwright, lives by one simple belief: if there were fewer people in his town, there would be less violence and crime.
With his ever-shifting MO, Ichabod kills with impunity and avoids any hint of suspicion. Through subterfuge, such as leaving false evidence behind and using different signatures, he is free to evolve into a mass murderer, preying on the fears and hatred lurking beneath the surface of the population. He even manages to incite a gang war, igniting citywide terror.
All in the name of proving his philosophy.
At a loss how to stop the madness, the police turn to Detective Stephen Van Tassel.
The young gumshoe is a synesthete. Both blessed and cursed with a rare disorder that gives him total recall, he is uniquely qualified to solve the riddle of the killings. Within days of arriving in Philicity, Stephen perceives a pattern in the madness, and gloms onto Ichabod. But even with his powerful memory and superior senses, the detective can find no evidence to incriminate the killer.
And so the game begins.
With Ichabod’s clean record, elegant dress, and impeccable manners, no one takes Stephen’s claims seriously. When the playwright kidnaps his niece, the gloves come off. It’s personal now. Soon Stephen is conspiring with gang members, pushing the extent of his abilities, and even compromising his morals. Nothing is out of bounds if it means stopping the man tearing the heart out of Philicity. Lives are weighed in the balance. Decisions are made on both sides. The lines between hunter and prey distort, until no one is safe, and murder seem like the only answer.