Former psychoanalyst Fiona Butters grabbles with the strange disappearance of four girls from a notorious reformatory in eastern Nevada. The year is 1978, a particularly paranoid time in a state where conspiracy theories roll across the barren deserts like tumbleweeds, propelled by isolationism and a deep distrust of the government. Fiona, who is also the narrator, is a self-effacing brainiac in her early thirties. A lover of quizzical oddities in both the natural and supernatural worlds, she was married once and that was enough. None-the-less, she faces the vicissitudes of life with cocky assuredness, an irreverent attitude, and a bawdy sense of humor.