What makes ordinary people choose to do heroic acts? What are the costs of becoming a hero? What happens when a hero ultimately fails? What could make a hero go bad? These are some of the questions the main characters wrestle with in Hell on Wheels.
Jason Dubois is a beloved teacher at a private school in Portland, Maine who dresses like a lumberjack and makes social studies come alive in his classroom. On his commute home one night, he sees a Somalian mother and her children being forced inside an abandoned building, and he decides to intervene. He helps them escape in the middle a desperate and violent fight, but he’s terribly wounded and left for dead. The Somalian woman, Fathia, who is more than she seems, comes back to rescue him. In the process, they form an unshakable and complicated bond between one another afterwards.
Clara Dixon is a psychologist in a secret unit of the United States Army whose mission is to distill out the psycho-emotional elements of heroic acts to help the Army train their soldiers for modern warfare. After she expresses her disenchantment with her job to her commander, Gordon Shannon, he sends her out to interview Dubois. When she meets with him, she begins to recognize how damaged he is; how much they both are. In the process, they form an emotional connection, but they are left with the decision of whether they can shed their own demons enough to get to a deeper level with one another.
Two gruesome murders of Somali children in the Portland cause Fathia to implore Dubois and Dixon to help the police track down the killer. During their own investigation, they uncover evidence showing these murders are not random acts of violence, but part of a twisted killer’s agenda. Can they help stop the killer before he gets to the end of his list? With the help of a venerable Portland cop, the Somalian community, and a shadowy military psychological profiler, Dixon and Dubois embark on a mission that’s bigger than their own problems and their own healing. Can such broken people save the day?