Although confined to a wheelchair, Detective Lincoln Rhyme's phenomenal success in solving crime has earned him a formidable reputation. Just for once, he's not on a job.
Lincoln is visiting North Carolina to try out a breakthrough in surgery which might be the first step towards a cure for his condition. However, fame is not without drawbacks. Locally, a youth's been killed, and two girls are missing, said to have been abducted by the murderer.
With no local knowledge and a contaminated crime scene, Rhyme is at a serious disadvantage. From where he's sitting, he can't even see a motive. He also knows he has 24 hours before the women become dehumanized in their kidnapper's eyes. And the clock's already ticking.
"The best psychological thriller writer around." (The Times)
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