Saturday night dates at the skating rink have been a tradition in the small southern town of Heartsdale for as long as anyone can remember; but when a teenage quarrel explodes into a deadly shoot-out, Sara Linton, the town's pediatrician and medical examiner, finds herself entangled in a terrible tragedy.
What seemed at first to be a horrific individual catastrophe proves to have wider implications. The autopsy reveals evidence of long-term abuse, of ritualistic self-mutilation, but when Sara and police chief Jeffrey Tolliver start to investigate, they are frustrated at every turn.
The children surrounding the victim close ranks. The families turn their backs. Then a young girl is abducted, and it becomes clear that the first death is linked to an even more brutal crime, one far more shocking than anyone could have imagined. Meanwhile, detective Lena Adams, still recovering from her sister's death and her own brutal attack, finds herself drawn to a young man who might hold the answers. But unless Lena, Sara, and Jeffrey can uncover the deadly secrets the children hide, it's going to happen again.
"The undertone of violence is pervasive, even at quiet moments...amplifying Slaughter's equation of intimacy with menace and placing her squarely in the ranks of Cornwell and Reichs." (
"With the same graphic detail found in her first novel and in those by Patricia Cornwell and Kathy Reichs, Slaughter has again written a fast-paced thriller for those not faint of heart." ( Library Journal)
"This is just the ticket for readers who like their crime fiction on the dark side." ( Booklist)
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an A-rated thriller
- Florian Knauer