Driving home along a generally unused country road following a speaking engagement, famed mystery novelist Tess Thorne experiences a flat tire on her car. She accepts the help of who she believes is a good Samaritan who stops to help her, but who instead rapes her, leaving her submerged in shallow water in a drainage pipe as dead. She found out that he actually orchestrated her getting the flat tire just moments before the rape. Alive, she, in shock, is able to make her way home, but she does not go to the hospital, dealing with her wounds herself, does not call the police, or tell any of her friends or acquaintances how she sustained her obvious injuries. Once the issue of what happened to her settles into herself, she decides to use her skills as an investigative writer to find out the reason behind what happened - if she was a random or targeted victim - and especially if the latter, how best to use that information to her advantage. Using her stories' grandmotherly heroine, Doreen Marcus, as her inspiration, Tess decides that the best course of action is revenge, and figuring out a way not to get caught. In the process, she may discover more than she bargained for.