“Look, Frank, trick-or-treaters,” Carrie said, breaking the silence of the last hour. “What are they doing all the way out here?”

“Here” was a country back road, eastern Alabama. Halloween, 1981.

“Those aren’t trick-or-treaters,” Frank said, easing the truck onto the sandy shoulder of the road. Up ahead, flipped on its side, half on the shoulder and half in the ditch, was a red-and-white striped Jimmy Blazer, one taillight blinking off and on, a maniacal, fluttering eye. Behind them, perhaps twenty yards, a knot of people huddled on the side of the road, not moving.

“Maybe we should drive on to the bait shop,” Frank said. “Call the police from the pay phone.” There are stories, stories every day, of people faking accidents in order to rob or rape unsuspecting Good Samaritans, and Frank couldn’t help but wonder if this was it, the night a knife slid across his throat, or worse, Carrie’s. The night everything was written out for them, the decisions made. The next morning, a work crew …