Dean McCarthy was born under a bad sign and trouble follows him wherever he goes. To begin with, his father was drunk when he crashed the car and fractured Dean's skull, leaving his son with the occasional brain seizure. Then Dean's mom got cancer and he had to take care of her as she died because his father "couldn't handle it." Things turned around for a bit when the huge white German shepherd Kota arrived. Kota is a talented dog. She can actually smell a seizure coming on and give warning. On the phone! She has other talents too less obvious but no less amazing. But then Dean got into gang trouble in his high school in New York City. So Dean and Kota have come to live with his aunt at the beach in Asbury Park. Life should be good on the Jersey shore, but it's October and it's freezing cold and somebody's killing the town's kids with drugs. On the bright side, there's Gloria, a girl who looks like a movie star and is so cool and who actually gets Dean and Kota. And after all, the beach is still the beach, right? But Dean was born under a bad sign and he finds trouble wherever he goes. Dean has to watch while a young student chokes out his life on the dirty floor of the high school toilet. So naturally he decides to poke around and find out who's behind the town's drug trade. If you're going to pick a fight with drug dealing killers, it helps to have somebody to watch your back, somebody like Kota, a huge white guardian and fierce defender. So trouble may follow Dean wherever he goes, but, luckily, so does Kota.