In the wooded hills of Southeast Missouri the pace of life is far different than the bustling clamor of the burgeoning suburbs surrounding major metropolitan areas of the country in 1961. It was a world apart, separated from concrete, steel and neon, by more than just miles. The rhythm of the hills, still pays little heed to a time clock, or sweep second hand. There is a time of warmth, a time of cold. There is a time of rain, and a time when the clouds offer nothing for a dry land. The wooded hills offer sanctuary and sustenance under an enveloping cloak of velvet green leaves. All manner of creatures seek food and shelter under the dense canopy of foliage in the deep woods.
The gently rolling hills even offered Mason Powell, a wounded Korean War veteran, a measure of peace. He was content to retreat from the outside world, foregoing most contact with the local farming communities that dotted the countryside. But when the small towns of the Boot Heel region, were rocked by brutal slayings, by a predator armed with razor sharp talons and lethal fangs, even Mason, in his isolation, could sense that the deep woods were losing the soothing peace that had been his haven.
The Missouri Department of Conservation is stymied in attempts to track and trap the killer. Despite their efforts there was a growing fear that the killings would continue. The hunt for the predator requires forging trails through swamps, where footing was uncertain, and struggling through dense brush, where vision was limited to a few yards. Conservation Agent Lynn Moody decided the best option was to find a local expert, someone who knew the woods as if it was their home.
The paths through the hills and dense woods were no mystery to Mason Powell. However, intimately familiar with the hills, he knows that there is sufficient cover to hide a small army, let alone a single killer. In this case the advantage was to the hunted, not the hunter. When a group of determined hunters fail to bring down the predator, Mason is forced to reassess the best way to hunt the animal. Reluctantly, he resorts to stalking the killer alone, on the killer's home ground. While attempting to avoid becoming the hunted himself, in the shadows underneath the velvet green canopy, Mason Powell learns a grim lesson; there may be a very good reason to fear things that go bump in the night!