Veteran newspaperman Jack McMorrow is now working as an editor at a small Maine newspaper. The job doesn't pay much, but Jack is there for the health insurance. His long-time girlfriend, Roxanne, is pregnant with their first child and, obviously, they need the coverage. But while Jack awaits the birth of his own child, he becomes entangled in the problems of a young street kid named Rocky.
As the book opens, Jack rescues Rocky from a beating. Rocky is a small kid, totally defenseless, and thus a natural target for bullies. Some other street kids are kicking the daylights out of him when Jack chases them away and saves Rocky. Rocky obviously has no business being out on the street, but he won't tell Jack where his home is. Jack attempts to take the kid to the emergency room, but Rocky bolts and runs away.
Later that night, Rocky shows up at Jack's house which is out in the middle of nowhere. It's snowing; it's brutally cold; Rocky is not dressed for the elements, and he's obviously in trouble. Jack is home alone that night and so brings Rocky into the house, feeds him, gives him a change of clothes and tells him to sleep on the couch.
The next morning, Rocky runs off again and when a couple of sheriff's deputies arrive to investigate the situation, they strongly suggest that Jack is some sort of pedophile who invited Rocky into his home so that he could molest him. Jack insists that he did no such thing and that he was only trying to save the kid, first from a beating and then from freezing to death. The deputies aren't sure whether to believe him or not and then the poor kid's clearly abusive stepfather shows up, repeating the charges and threatening to kick the crap out of Jack.
At this point, almost anyone else would step aside and let the authorities handle the matter. But Jack is genuinely concerned about Rocky and fears that no one else really cares about him. It's clear by now, at least to Jack, that there's some very scary reason why Rocky is so afraid to go home to his mother and stepfather, and Jack is determined to discover what that might be. In the course of doing so, he may place his own life, and the future of his yet-unborn child on the line.
This is a very absorbing mystery that demonstrates what can sometimes be the costs of acting with good intentions. Jack McMorrow is clearly a decent guy, and that decency again gets him into deep trouble here as it has in earlier books. Another very good entry in a great regional mystery series.