WHEN IT HAPPENED, the heartrending drama at Convict Lake made international headlines. It was the most significant event to occur there since 1871 when a real-life Wild West shootout earned Convict Lake its name. In addition to the powerful and page-turning emergency, the events that led up to the Convict Lake rescue reveal a larger story that continues to haunt our affairs today. It is a story of bureaucratic ineffectiveness, abuse, greed and troubled juveniles. It is a story of law enforcement, fire and rescue, privatization and public policy. The book Convict Lake answers the question of why the teenagers and rescuers arrived at that frozen spot in the middle of a High Sierra lake on Presidents’ Day 1990; and the answer reveals a tale that is as much about the ghost of our future as it is about the ghosts of our past.