Only eight months after 14-year-old Nikki Simons's mother dies, her father marries Crystal, a young artist at the publishing company where he is an editor. Shortly thereafter, Crystal inherits a house on the California coast and Nikki's dad insists they go there for a vacation despite his new wife's obvious resistance. Nikki, her 10-year-old brother, and his friend Jeremy head out with the new couple to California. After Nikki's father is conveniently called away on business, the teen is left to cope with her stepmother's nightmares, unexplained terror, and refusal to be seen by any of the locals. Finally, Crystal reveals the reason for her traumatized state: she had witnessed the murder of her parents by a relative in a nearby house when she was a child. A fog at a pivotal point provides excitement, as does the moment that Nikki realizes that the murderer has been watching her.