Miller Hatcher is getting over a relationship and the recent death of her mother, with the help of alcohol, when she gets the opportunity to write a feature story that might land her the job of head reporter for the national magazine she works for, First Look. Sergeant Kahu Parata is a local cop at the small Coromandel town of Castle Bay where Miller will hopefully write her masterpiece. Kahu knows all the locals and turns a blind eye to some of their misdemeanours, and he is annoyed when a team from Auckland are sent to work the case that Miller intends to cover – the discovery of the body of a missing tourist, Bethany Haliwell.
A gentleman with an alcohol problem is in Sea View Lunatic Asylum on the hills aboveTreachery Road the Hokitika goldfields. He has been making a nuisance of himself in Hokitika and other gold mining areas, trying to gather information about the infamous Burgess Gang – Richard Burgess, Philip Levy, Thomas Kelly and Joseph Sullivan. The man is obsessed with the case, Burgess, Kelly and Levy having been hanged years before.
Lydia Smith is trying to escape her violent past by disappearing into her job at the Bright Ideas bookstore, minding her 'Book Frogs', a group of homeless men who spend their days in the warmth of the store. Late one night, Lydia comes across the body of Joey, a young Frog Lydia was especially fond of.
Why do people become obsessed with places, things or other people? What has evolved in us that enables us to continue to desire unrequited relationships, when to do so brings great suffering to ourselves? And what hyperactive flourish of male arrogance through the ages has ended up with the cruelty men are capable of towards women?