When Dr. Temperance Brennan is accosted in her office by a web sleuth who claims to have proof a missing teen was tortured and possibly murdered in a horrifying manner, the forensic anthropologist is drawn in to a case with more twists and turns than seems possible.
This 18th book in Kathy Reich’s series involves genetic defects, exorcism, the power of belief, religious fanaticism, and disturbing psychological disorders for a wild ride through the Blue Ridge Mountains and rural North Carolina.
The first lead, given and guarded stringently by the hostile amateur web sleuth Hazel Strike leads to dismembered body parts found at different times and different locations, all at overlooks to Brown Mountain, a site known in local lore as a place of mysterious happenings.
Hazel apparently feels betrayed when Tempe brings in local law enforcement on the search, and takes off, taking her hoarded evidence with her. The next time Tempe sees her is on a slab in the coroner’s office, leading Tempe to feel guilty over her missed calls and suspicious of Hazel’s rivals on various web sleuthing sites.
The plot grows ever thicker as Tempe, along with local cops and deputies from jurisdictions where Hazel’s body and the various dismembered pieces are found investigate the motives of various people in the missing teens’ lives, as now a possible boyfriend has joined the ranks of the lost. How these two are connected, and exactly who the body parts belong to, make up a very exciting chase.
The only issue I had with this story is the local lore of Brown Mountain was brought up in such a way that it looked like the author was going to have it figure prominently in the story. However, at the end, though that topic was addressed once more, it was as an aside, and didn’t play a significant part in the plot or even have any real meaning for the story. While it is an interesting tidbit, it was one “red herring” that I was disappointed led to nothing.
Overall, this story was thrilling and contained even more convoluted turns than usual with a Kathy Reichs book. I admit I did not expect the climax in the least, and was kept guessing up until the very last chapter. I award this book 4.5 stars, and recommend it to fans of forensic thrillers, mysteries, and anyone who loved the television show based on Reich’s work, Bones.