Joel Vick, a Minneapolis detective down on his luck, receives an opportunity in the form of a mysterious letter delivered to his office. The letter alludes to a 90-year-old missing person case in the small northern Minnesota town of Seven Lakes. Joel, as a child, had spent numerous summers in Seven Lakes vacationing with his family. With a downturn in requests for his services locally, and his natural curiosity aroused, Vick drives up to see if the case has any merit.

Initially frustrated that he had wasted his time after visiting the person who wrote the letter, Vick discovers something unusual that changes his mind about leaving.

Vick, digging further into the case, determines that the investigation performed at the time of her disappearance to be entirely inadequate. Using his investigative skills, Vick stitches together a story of a beautiful young woman who had been looking for a new start but unable to escape her past. The story takes place against severe winter snowstorms, extreme cold, and a robust ice harvesting industry that flourished in the decades before refrigeration rendered it obsolete.