From a young age, Robert Keagan displays psychopathic traits. Killing small animals gives him pleasure, and he discovers he doesn’t have a conscience. His life spirals out of control when his mother entertains men while his father works, her gin-drinking bouts growing more frequent. When his mother announces her pregnancy and Robert hears the terrible row between his parents, hatred for his mother grows. After moving to a new home with his father, Robert commits his first murder, taking him into new territory.

Robert marries and lives the life of a respectable man. But his cruel tendencies return. Unable to contain them, he murders again and again. Will he keep his secrets from his wife, or will he go a step too far?