It was the safest state in America, where a single murder in a year was the usual. People there descended from hearty settlers who had withstood a challenging life by cooperating. When a growing your town with recently paved streets was struck by annual murders for three consecutive years, something had changed. Each crime was more violent and heinous than it's predecessor, beginning when one of the town's favorites, a personable high school cheerleader, was murdered in her family's home in a sex-related attack. Within months cam the bloody bludgeoning death of a young mother in her own home. As one homicide was prosecuted and investigations moved forward on the second, a young man's body was found bisected, with the halves floating in bags in a river.