When Alan Hammerstun inherits a quaint ranch house in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, he and his wife Heather seize the opportunity to leave New York and the haunting aftermath of two miscarriages. Eager to start over in the rural North Carolina town, they hope this new beginning will be the antidote to Heather's severe depression. For a time everything seems perfect. Too perfect, in fact. The neighbours are all young, handsome, healthy, and friendly. While surveying his new property, Alan finds a dirt path through the forest designated by stone markers carved with strange symbols, which culminates in a grassy clearing. One night Alan dreams the path ends at the foot of a lake and dives in; when he awakes gritty with lake grime and improved health and strength, he wonders if it could cure Heather's depression and infertility as well. When the townspeople warn Alan of the lake's powers, he must decide if the community's secret is a nightmare or a miracle.
Ronald Malfi is the author of The Ascent, The Fall of Never, The Nature of Monsters, Shamrock Alley, Via Dolorosa, and Floating Staircase, which was nominated for the 2011 Bram Stoker Award for Best Novel and won the 2012 IPPY National Gold Medal for Horror. He lives in Arnold, Maryland.