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At a lonely midnight backwater, four miles from the centre of Carlow Town, a group of teenage boys accidentally stumble upon a grisly ornament. Four human skulls hang from the underside of an old sluice gate, grinning murderously as they twist in the river's breeze.

Journalist Tom Lacey is running from the rubble of a life collapsing around him in his adopted home of Croydon. His marriage is over, and his career is quickly heading the same way. He turns to the arms of his brother's family back in their native Ireland, in the hope of leaving everything else behind.

Within days of his arrival, Tom is drawn into a series of kidnappings, the victims seemingly being punished for their interference with the skulls in Milford. Driven by guilt and the distance he now feels in an unfamiliar hometown, Tom wades blindly into his own investigation, unaware that the real nightmare is about to come calling.

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© Martin O'Rourke 2004