An intriguing story of the ongoing struggles of a small town that became victim to a virus which killed a third of its people, but didn't spread outside the village. Except for a few “skips” like Paxton, the protagonist, who don’t get sick, the inhabitants become:
• Argos: abnormally tall, angular, and strong, and they cannot reproduce (Deke & his wife)
• Betas: hairless and dark; Beta women women reproduce parthenogenically (JoLynn and her daughters)
• Charlies: corpulent and in late middle age the men start secreting an addictive hallucinogenic substance through their skin. (Paxton’s father, Reverend Martin is a Charlie, as is Rhonda, the mayor of Switchcreek, TN)
Paxton returns home for the funeral of his childhood friend JoLynn and with his friend Deke seeks to find out whether JoLynn really committed suicide. And to make things more complicated, the same virus breaks out in a city in Ecuador.