Carter Sales is fifty, supremely confident, debonair, an ultra wealthy advertising executive with an impressive sailing yacht and a beautiful young wife. And yet he is virtually friendless, estranged from his adult sons away at college, and terrorized by his adopted children, ages 11 and 13, a package deal with his belligerent bride who he hides money from and who most assuredly is about to divorce him. Carter suffers from severe death anxiety, certain a heart attack will strike him dead though renowned heart specialists assure him his heart is strong. He takes cortisone shots for his aching back broken thirty-two years ago in a car wreck when he drove recklessly in a rainstorm, killing his high school sweetheart. Decades of drinking have not drowned his regret. His current hobby is watching with fascination a young woman, new to the neighborhood, sprinting along the lake near his home.
Anna Shields is thirty-two. At seventeen she was institutionalized and misdiagnosed with multiple personalities disorder. At eighteen she committed homicide. She was never accused of the crime. She’s concealed her unfortunate past from her husband, Tom, a rich lawyer with a bland personality, who supports her. Anna is unemployed by choice, generally bored, but now majorly stressed out. Her high school boyfriend, Johnny—who is also her stepbrother, the sole keeper of her dark secrets, and her longtime stalker—is out of prison. Violent and demented, Johnny served two years for beating the crap out of Tom.
Sprinting along a lake in her new neighborhood, Anna notices a creep in a white Mercedes watching her. Then she meets him. The arrogant and handsome and lustful Carter Sales. Initially, Anna’s only interest in Carter is the fun of tormenting him when he makes a pass at her. But when Johnny shows up, frightening and threatening Anna, as he’s done so many times over the years, Anna manipulates Carter, involving him in a wild scheme to get rid of Johnny.
The story is a tragicomedy played out by memorable characters. The uproarious events are contrasted with underlying tragedies and sealed with an unpredictable ending.