A college kid who avenges an attack on his handicapped father wrestles with his conscience as his act of revenge leads to more problems than he’s ever dreamed of.
Eighteen-year-old John Wesley Hardin’s handicapped father is attacked by a drunken bully. John secretly plots against the assailant. Wearing a white sheet on Halloween night, John exacts a violent revenge.
At first a couple of Klansmen are accused of the crime. The legal advisor to a civil rights advocacy group, however, is desperate for contributions, so she puts all of the charity’s resources into solving what she describes as a hate crime. Donations pour in, and with her coffers full, the lawyer hires a wise old private detective who starts asking difficult questions.
Cracks appear in John’s alibi. Risky financial deals, altruistic projects, and three simultaneous love affairs distract John from adequately protecting his secret. He strays across the boundaries of ethics and friendship in his struggle to find a balance between his wants and needs. His assumptions about wealth, love, and power take him to the tipping point where a single adverse event could bring him down.
As a precocious child back in Caledonia, New Hampshire, he got by with breaking the law. Now John is old enough to vote, to love, and to answer for what he’s done under the harsh light of the New Mexico sun.