In rural Alabama, two couples find themselves in a fight for survival. Running from a maniac (The Tin Man) bent on killing them, they flee deep into the woods and seek refuge in a house. They soon realize the killer has purposely lured them to this house and that they are now trapped. As they huddle around an old fireplace, a tin can falls through the chimney. Scrawled on its side is a message from the killer, establishing his House Rules. The rules call for their deaths unless they kill at least one of the four. They have less than 12 hours to find a way to survive. At sunrise the game is over and everyone dies if the killer's demands aren't met. What they quickly learn is that the only way out... is in. But going further into this house--where unknown challenges await them--is equally deadly.
Two couples finding their way to different location both find their cars to be wrecked and ran from the wreckage. Both couples find their way to this House in which a few back woods inhabitants live... none are taken for more then they appear... until... a can is sent down the chimney in to the house. It is sent by and evil sadistic "Tin Man" the house rules... "Welcome to my house. House rules: 1. God came into my house and i killed him. 2. I will kill anyone who comes into my house as i killed God. 3. Give me one dead body and i might let rule two slide. GAME OVER AT DAWN." The couples are sent into a raging search to find a way out or find who should be killed. They meet up with a little girl along the way. Susan. Is she the one... but she will help them out... by digging into their hearts... or will she?
While driving through a secondary road for a meeting with a marriage counselor in Montgomery, Alabama, the estranged couple Jack Singleton and Stephanie Singleton ask for directions from a police officer, but they have a car accident with a metal part left on the road. Jack realizes that his Mustang has two flat tires and they see an abandoned BMW parked on the road with the head lights on and flat tires. Jack and Steph walk in the rain seeking help. They see an inn where they meet the businessman and owner of the BMW, Randy Messsarue, and his fiancée Leslie Taylor. Out of the blue, the weird owners Pete, his mother Betty and Stewart welcome the guests and invite them to have dinner. Soon, they are chased by the owner and maniac 'Tin Man' and they find that they are trapped in the evil house. Further, for surviving, they lean that they must kill one of them in accordance with The Tin Man's rules. But the mysterious girl Susan befriends Jack and advises that if anyone kills, he or she will definitely belong to The Tin Man.
- On a deserted back road in alabama, Jack and Stephanie find themselves driving fast and running late. Their world suddenly changes when a strange accident leaves them stranded with no car, no cell phone coverage, and no help in sight. They have no choice except to continue on foot. As darkness approaches, they round a bend and see a small sign at the top of a long gravel driveway: The Wayside Inn.
The exhausted couple stands in front of an inviting house, complete with gated stone wall, ancient oak trees, and a note welcoming weary travelers. Inside they find another couple with an equally troubling story about a similar accident. It seems that backwoods pranksters have made their day miserable. Still, they are safe . . .
Or so they think.
--Taken from the novel