by Kathy Reichs
Charlotte, North Carolina. One of the town s oldest neighbourhoods. An underground chamber is exposed in a seedy, dilapidated house with sagging trim and peeling paint Called to the scene is forensic anthropologist Dr Temperance Brennan. Fighting her claustrophobia, and the unmistakeable sweet, fetid odour of rotting flesh, Tempe descends the precariously steep, makeshift wooden steps. What awaits her below is a ritualistic display: slain chickens and a goat and a skull, ghostly pale, rests on a pedestal, the lower jaw missing, the empty orbits staring back at her. Two cauldrons stand nearby, beads and antlers suspended overhead. Age, race and sex indicators confirm the skull as that of a young, black female but how did she die, and when? Then, just as Tempe is working to determine the post-mortem interval, another body is uncovered. The corpse is headless, the torso is carved with Satanic symbols. Led by a preacher-turned-politician, citizen vigilantes blame Devil-worshippers and begin a witch-hunt, intent on revenge. As Tempe struggles to keep her emotions and imagination from running away with her, she makes another chilling discovery. Even she couldn t have predicted where this case would lead, or the shocking secrets it would eventually uncover. And the more Tempe learns, the more she seems to be putting herself in danger
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