Having survived near death in Philadelphia, Paul Little begins a new life on his deceased grandfather’s farm in Pharris County, North Carolina. But Paul’s self-imposed exile is short-lived when he meets “Bo”, his grandfather’s old friend, and Gilly Catlett, a precocious girl with a dark secret. Paul and Gilly form an unlikely friendship and when her body is discovered strangled and floating in Paul’s pond, the Sheriff deems Paul suspect number one. Paul soon learns there is no justice in Pharris County. Rumors of wrongful convictions, corruption of county officials and law enforcement, and racial intolerance that echoes views of the past ensures Paul an uphill battle. With Bo at his side and the help of an empathetic local, Luisa Ferry, Paul fights to prove his innocence while hunting for Gilly’s killer.
A Healthy Fear of Man examines life in today’s rural south, where the past is not inconsequential, the line between guilt and innocence is blurred and anyone is capable of murder.