South of Anchorage, Alaska, accessible only from a mud-rutted road off Seward Highway, is the town of Lodgepole. After midnight, after the sun has finally gone down, among the blueberry bushes of White Birch Park overlooking the lime green waters of Little Muncho Lake, a man climbs on top of a woman and begins making love to her. As her orgasm rises he puts his hands around her throat, shutting off her air.
She struggles, not to stop him, but to stop herself from trying instinctively to pull his hands off her throat. As the top joints of his thumb meet at the front of her throat she comes, her cry of orgasm ricocheting around inside her forever. Daryl Putnam, handsome, bookish, wakes from a nightmare and decides to do something he hasn’t done in years, take a walk outside at night. Down by the lake he comes across the body of the strangled woman.