John Rothsford, a hypnotist maimed by his sadistic parents during childhood, has discovered a powerful new technique he believes can truly heal his troubled patients. His first subject: six-year-old burn victim Mary Colburn. Little Mary’s reaction to John’s powerful, new hypnotic suggestion has left her family dead and Mary shunned by her community. Now, fifteen years later, adult Mary plods through life, anxious and isolated except for her cat, Victor, and her elderly neighbor, Doris.
Reuniting on her twenty-first birthday and finding himself saddened and angered to see that Mary has been riddled with trauma and guilt all these years later, John places her under trance again to reverse her pain, and plants a new suggestion: Unbeknownst to him however, he’s created a bold, cold new Mary who finds fun and comfort in the darkest recesses of human suffering and who will stop at nothing to punish anyone who threatens her.
As Mary’s trail of victims grows and her methods become grislier and more devious, John’s own demons rise to the surface. He struggles to understand how her treatment went wrong and strives to undo the damage before someone else dies and his career is ruined. But Mary isn’t finished yet….