Bull Santee, a thirteen-year-old black boy, is being held by the sheriff of tiny Sunset, Mississippi for sneaking into a white man's back yard and brutally beating his pet dog to death. But Shy Brown knows Bull didn't do it. How did Shy, a privileged white kid from Memphis and the grandson of one of the most important men in Sunset, get involved in something as ugly and dastardly as this? What does Shy know? How does he know it? And what is he going to do about it?