Haunted by the accidental drowning of his fiancée, NYU English professor Drew Osborne writes a book of Shakespearean sonnets in an attempt to assuage his feelings of loneliness and guilt. Still needing further separation from the daily reminders of his loss, he leaves the frenetic cadence of Manhattan behind and accepts a teaching position at a small, private college in the hills of north Georgia.
Initially, the young professor is the literary toast of the Smythville College community. But shortly after his arrival, a beautiful young woman is brutally murdered. A week later, one of Drew’s students is killed. When the police make a connection between the victims and two anonymous entries in a local poetry contest, they naturally focus their interest on the only published poet in their midst. Not only are the contest entries professionally written verse portending the death of each victim, they are a form of poetry rarely seen anymore. They are sonnets.
Everywhere he turns, Drew faces malicious accusations. Desperate to absolve himself, Drew uses his literary training to decipher the clues in an attempt to identify the killer’s next victims before they are murdered. Racing against time, Drew Osborne puts what is left of his life on the line as he pursues a demented master of metaphor, meter…and murder.