Thomas Dylan's son disappears without a trace; he has sunk into the bottle, his wife has left him, and he's on the verge of losing his house and job. One day he sees a shimmer, not unlike the one he saw the day his son Walter disappeared. He follows it and finds himself herded into a railroad car, prodded by men with cattle prods. The train takes him into a parallel world where people suffer from "sins" and only the death of those kidnapped can cure them.
Thomas escapes with the help of a charismatic healer and begins his journey in search of his son that will take him across a landscape that is both familiar and alien.
This is a fast paced novel so I recommend starting it on a weekend because you're not going to want to put this down.