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Dan Kelly, an exiled former banking executive, his personal life in shambles, has been dispatched by his Mississippi-based bank to gain a foothold in Texas, a precursor to eventual expansion into the moneyed Lone Star state. Settling in among the towering pines and thick hardwoods of the labyrinth existing in the region known as Deep East Texas, he soon becomes amazed by the unexpected secluded beauty of the area. Intrigued by his surroundings, and bored by his basically self-imposed circumstances, he begins a secret, part-time endeavor selling parcels of land to buyers beyond state borders utilizing ads in regional newspapers. An elderly retired couple from Ohio purchases one of the parcels in rural San Gabriel County, deep in the thickest part of the hidden thickets. Unbeknownst to Kelly, the couple has acquired the acreage as a front for a brutal, murderous drug ring leader, recently forced to abandon his northern Ohio operation due to the death of a nosy sheriff. Upon realizing the harm he has caused to the trusting natives of San Gabriel County, and following the deaths of local citizens, Kelly looks for ways to undo the danger he has ushered into East Texas. His desperate efforts follow him from Dallas to Houston, and finally to Knoxville, Tennessee, confronting personal threats along the way. His frantic search ends on a dark September night, during a life-and-death struggle in the now-threatening forests of the East Texas woods.
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