"I'm in trouble, Liz. I've uncovered something . . . They're watching . . . I'm going for help tonight and will contact you as soon as I'm able."
That panicked message on her answering machine was the last time Liz Ames heard from her sister Rachel. The police believe Rachel Howard, pastor of Paradise Christian Church in Key West, Florida, suffered an emotional breakdown and ran off. Her behavior had become increasingly bizarre, her sermons dark, frightening. Besides, women didn't meet untimely ends on the island paradise. The police quickly closed the case.
But Liz is convinced her sister's disappearance wasn't self-imposed. Fleeing a shattered marriage and a career on hold, Liz moves to Key West to prove her suspicions, her only clues her sister's cryptic phone message and a page from Rachel's journal bearing the Image of a strange, horned flower.
Liz isn't on the island twenty-four hours when a successful banker, a man with everything to live for, jumps to his death from his bedroom window. Then a teenage girl whom Rachel was counseling is found brutally murdered in the garden of Paradise Christian Church. The ritualistic style of the killing is hauntingly similar to that used by the notorious "New Testament" serial killer -- now on death row. Could the teenager's murder be the work of a copycat killer? And what was the girl's relationship to Rachel?
The police have logical explanations for it all. They don't believe these events are linked. Everywhere Liz turns, she encounters disbelief and suspicion. Only Rick Wells is willing to listen. Wells once had a promising career as a Miami cop . . . until his life fell apart. He missed a chance to work the "New Testament" investigation, but he knows the case and believes its similarities to what's happening in Key West are too great to ignore.
Together they struggle to uncover the unspeakable evil at the heart of this seemingly idyllic community. But each step closer to the truth brings more questions -- and more death. For sinister forces lurk within paradise -- and no one seems able to escape, not even at a . . . dead run.