On leave from his skillful and successful military thrillers (The Med, The Gulf, The Circle), Poyer takes his readers to a ravaged corner of Pennsylvania where eco-despair, alcohol, and ruthless business practices make life miserable for everyone. Everyone. Attention Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn: you are needed in northwestern Pennsylvania where Siberian weather, toxic dumping, spouse abuse, alcoholism, venereal disease, deforestation, adolescent violence, unemployment, and potholes have made the old oil-pumping town of Raymondsville into an American gulag. And it's getting worse. Loathsome, syphilitic businessman Brad Boulton--the illegitimate son of a coal-field prostitute who married into the town's leading family--is busily turning the nearly bankrupt local oil industry into a shady conglomerate. Boulton is the kind of guy who sees golden financial opportunities in defrocked doctors and bedridden pensioners for his new chain of cut-rate nursing homes. He's recently improved his cash-flow situation by filling emptied oil trucks with pesky toxic industrial waste (mob controlled, of course) from New Jersey, which he has his drivers dump along the roadsides of his own community. Animals are dying and people are getting sick. The demoralized townspeople, grateful for the jobs he's brought to their dying burg, will do anything Boulton wants. The only ones willing to stand up to him are his nasty wife, the electrolysis expert he's been seeing on the side, a crippled but clever schoolboy, and an ancient hard-as-nails hunter. The wife keeps to herself, but the other three get together on a homemade bomb, making good use of that oh-so-handy fertilizer you hear so much about these days. Unremittingly bleak.