Kathy Reichs is a forensic anthropologist for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, State of North Carolina, and for the Laboratoire des Sciences Judiciaires et de Médecine Légale for the province of Quebec. She is one of only fifty forensic anthropologists certified by the American Board of Forensic Anthropology and is on the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. A professor of anthropology at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Dr. Reichs is a native of Chicago, where she received her Ph.D. at Northwestern. She now divides her time between Charlotte and Montreal and is a frequent expert witness in criminal trials.
Winter has come to North Carolina and, with it, a drop in crime. For a while, temporarily idle forensic anthropologist Tempe Brennan is content to dote on her daughter Katy, finally returned to civilian life from the army. But when mother and daughter meet at Tempe’s place one night for dinner, they find a box on the back porch. Inside: a very fresh human eyeball.
GPS coordinates etched into the eyeball lead to a Benedictine Monastery where an equally macabre discovery awaits. Soon after, Tempe examines a mummified corpse in a state park, and her anxiety deepens.
There seems to be no pattern to these random killings, except that each mimics in some way a killing that a younger Tempe witnessed, analyzed, or barely escaped. Who or what is targeting her, and why?
Helping Tempe discover the answers is detective Erskine “Skinny” Slidell, retired but still volunteering with the CMPD cold case unit—and still displaying his gallows humor. As the two penetrate a bizarre survivalist’s lair, even Skinny’s mood darkens.
And then Tempe’s daughter Katy disappears.