Littlefield, Massachusetts: home to psychologists, college professors and their over-achieving children, and recently lauded as one of the Ten Best Places to Live in America. If happiness had a home it would be here.

Then the first dog is poisoned. At first, there is shock and disbelief: who would commit such a cruel act – and why? As more dogs die so residents soon notice other signs that something’s not right in their home: the appearance of menacing grafitti, the persistent triggering of fire alarms at the middle school and the haunted looks neighbours begin exchanging.

For the Downings, Margaret, Bill and daughter Julia, Littlefield’s darkness hints at flaws in their own lives. What is wrong? What can save them?