After an unexpectedly thrilling summer with his grandfather, Oregon State student Charley Sawyer is ready to catch his breath at his late parents' Oregon beach home. Hoping for some rest and relaxation, Charley is met instead by devastation: the house has been ransacked. In his inventory of the damage, Charley stumbles across the item the trespasser must have been after, the only thing that seems out of place: a mysterious key. And when he learns what it unlocks, Charley is drawn into yet another adventure with a ragtag group more than willing to help.
Mac Bowman, the brainy and beautiful anthropology student who joined Charley in his summer escapade, is thrilled when she is presented with the opportunity to conduct research in Oregon. Maybe a little time together will allow the pair to explore their feelings for one another. But when she arrives, she is disturbed by what she finds: Charley has disappeared without a trace.
As Charley and Mac each work to unravel their mysteries, their searches collide dramatically. Only one thing is clear: the moment he found the key, Charley unwittingly opened the door to a long-held secret—one that could cost him his life.