Cedar Hole is the armpit of fictional Gilford County, a town full of apathetic underachievers trapped by a defunct railroad, distrust of the outside world, and their own lack of imagination. During the annual ' Train Festival' the citizens are called to declare the ' greatest man' in town, and a fierce rivalry ensues between two boys, Robert J. Cutler and Francis "Spud" Pinkham. Robert, the bright only child of two factory workers, prevails at first and gracefully steps into the role of the town's resident good-hearted visionary. But when Robert dies an early death, Francis, Cedar Hole's quintessential citizen, must struggle on to earn respect within his family and his community. Cedar Hole's other residents include Kitty Higgins, the librarian whose empty marriage to a lecherous butcher feeds her obsession with order and decay; Bernie Cutler, Robert's widow, whose grudge against Kitty borders on the psychotic; and Jackie Pinkham, Francis's older sister and greatest foe, who in a moment of violent jealousy will cause all their lives to collide anew.
Stephanie Doyon studied English and creative writing before ghostwriting several books for teenagers. This is her first novel.