The novel begins with a brief introduction to Leo at the age of twelve, and chronicles his move from his home state of Pennsylvania to Arizona. Before the move, his Uncle Pete gives Leo a porcupine necktie as a farewell present, inspiring him to collect more like it. After his collection is mentioned in a local newspaper, Leo receives a second porcupine necktie for his birthday, left anonymously on his doorstep, and the story begins.
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