Born in Missouri more than a century ago and raised in a Pentecostal orphanage, the creature now calling himself Gelson Verber has changed his name countless times. He's part-werewolf, and makes his living hunting certain kinds of bad men-criminals, rapists, thugs-in an often grotesque parody of the natural order. Verber is clearly suffering from the kinds of things a werewolf would be uniquely vulnerable to in the modern world: the horror of war, drug abuse, and isolation in the rain-drenched environment of Portland, Oregon. He has PTSD, but in a unique way, often flashing back to his time with a regiment in World War II.
His smooth life as a serial killer takes a turn when he falls into the crosshairs of Salt Street, a development corporation running pirated criminology software and Big Data sieves to identify werewolf hybrids, who are then forced into servitude. As he falls deeper into the trap that has been set for him, his introduction to its evil architect triggers within Verber a string of recollections, conversations with the late werewolf-hybrid, John Jack Bridger. Salt Street's trap is masterful, but it does have one terrible flaw: you cannot cage someone-or some thing-like Gelson Verber.