Two young women who have been friends since childhood decide to reconnect and restore their friendship in a stress-free environment, by taking a six-week vacation: Hiking a portion of the famous Appalachian Trail, from Georgia to the Great Smoky Mountains. Both are successful professionals - Rachel Robinson is a physician, and Marcy Thomas is a real estate broker. Halfway through their trek, horribly mutilated dead bodies begin turning up in Nantahala Forest of North Carolina. A phantom serial killer with a twisted mind - a smoldering powder keg of evil - is on the loose. He stalks his victims on the Appalachian Trail as it winds through portions of Tennessee, North Carolina and Georgia. Unbeknownst to Rachel and Marcy, they are being shadowed by this murderer who is so heinous, cruel and clever, he is off the charts. Rachel and Marcy's leisurely vacation trek is quickly transformed into a harrowing journey of wilderness survival. Enter Joe Bird, National Park Service Ranger and federal law enforcement officer in the Investigative Services Branch, or ISB. He is tasked to find the killer and will need every break he can get to find him before the serial killer savages the two women. Only Joe, who is a Native American Cherokee Indian and knows the forests, and the elite team from the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, will be able to connect the dots and find the phantom before he strikes again. In the end, Joe will risk his badge, his life and his pride to save the woman he has fallen in love with.