Kathy Reichs’s eleventh forensic mystery thriller, in which Temperance Brennan heads to Charlotte, North Carolina to solve a demonic plot involving ritual sacrifice before the town’s vengeful citizens take matters into their own hands.
In a house under renovation, a plumber uncovers a cellar no one knew about and makes a grisly discovery: a decapitated chicken, animal bones, and cauldrons containing beads, feathers, and other relics of religious ceremonies. In the center of the shrine rests the skull of a teenage girl. Meanwhile, on a nearby lakeshore, the headless body of a teenage boy is found by a man walking his dog.
Forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan is called in to investigate, and a complex and gripping tale unfolds. Nothing is clear—neither when the deaths occurred, nor where. Was the skull brought to the cellar or was the girl murdered there? Why is the boy's body remarkably well preserved? Led by a preacher turned politician, citizen vigilantes blame devil worshippers and Wiccans, and Temperance will need all of her expertise to get to the real culprit first.
Dr. Temperance Brennan's quest to identify two corpses pits her against citizen vigilantes intent on a witch-hunt in bestseller Reichs's exciting 11th thriller to feature the forensic anthropologist (after 2007's Bones to Ashes). While working in Charlotte, N.C., Brennan investigates remains unearthed during a housing renovation and discovers disturbing clues possibly pointing to voodoo or Santeria. She must determine if the bones, including the skull of a teenage girl, are linked to an unidentified headless torso found in a nearby lake. Intent on using the deaths as the cornerstone of his crusade against immorality, fundamentalist preacher turned politician Boyce Lingo claims that the bodies bear the mark of devil worshippers. With the help of Det. Erskine "Skinny" Slidell, Brennan unearths a tangled web of dirty politics, religious persecution and male prostitution. Reichs, whose work inspired the hit TV series Bones, once again expertly blends science and complex character development.