In May 2003 the body of nineteen-year-old Jessica Kate Williams was found by a railway track in Portland Oregon: beaten, broken and horribly burnt. But the terrible chain of events that led to her death had been put in place almost a decade before. James Daniel Nelson first hit the streets as a teenager in 1992, joining a clutch of runaways and misfits who camped out together in a squat under a Portland bridge. Within a few months the group - they called themselves a 'family' - was arrested for a string of violent murders. While Nelson sat in prison, the society he had helped form grew into a phenomenon. In 2003, almost eleven years after his original murder, Nelson, now called 'Thantos', got out of prison, returned to Portland, created a new street family, and was ready to kill again. In this dark and compelling portrait of one of America's most frightening subcultures, Rene Denfeld draws on material gathered over a decade spent with the 'families', revealing the dark side of an American ideal, and the extremes to which desperate teenagers (the majority of whom hail from loving middle-class homes) will go in their search for a sense of a belonging.