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Medicine Creek, Kansas. In a town where nothing changes, where Main Street is a two-block stretch of old and dusty businesses, a ghastly murder has taken place. The unknown victim has been placed in a small clearing in a sea of corn, mutilated and arranged in an elaborate tableau. Within twenty-four hours the sheriff is assuring a flood of reporters and tense residents that this is an isolated death - until Special Agent Pendergast arrives in the stifling August heat to declare it the work of a serial killer.
Soon neighbors begin to disappear - only to reappear as the lifeless centerpieces of unspeakable displays. Convulsed with terror, the townsfolk whisper of the legendary Curse of the Forty-fives. No one is safe from a killer who stalks his prey in the blackness of night...and whose grotesque crimes are revealed by circling buzzards under the cruel summer sun.
With the help of Corrie Swanson, an eighteen-year-old misfit, Pendergast unearths the secrets of this isolated town - from the dark histories of its inhabitants to the darker mysteries hidden in the endless cornfields. And ultimately, as he unravels the local curse and the truth of Medicine Creek's greatest enigma, the Ghost Warrior Massacre of 1865, Pendergast comes face-to-face with the unimaginable evil that lies at the heart of this small town.