In the bleak and wintry rural village of H'tten senior detective Nicholas Ramm has been called from Oslo. It is four months after the brutal rape and murder of a young girl with Down's syndrome, and one of the two young men suspected of the crime by the locals has just been found dead, floating amidst the river's ice. His older brother, the other suspect, is missing, possibly dead, and his younger brother, Niklas, still in grade school, is being cruelly hazed. For the townsfolk, a loutish and often drunken bunch of Norwegian rednecks, there is no mystery to unravel, and retribution, from the hands of 'the bloody angels,' has already been partially delivered. For Ramm, contemptuous of provincial ways, guilt is yet to be proven, and potential suspects abound, from the odd priest of this inbred village to the multitude of its vulgar, smirking, skirt-chasing bullies. As he probes for a crack in the conspiracy of silence, he befriends the young Niklas, an alliance which further alienates him from the town. Sinister forebodings entwine with ambiguity and doubt in a slow escalation to an unexpected and violent climax.