Forensic anthropologist Bill Brockton has spent twenty-five years solving brutal murders—but none so bizarre and merciless as his latest case: A ravaged set of skeletal remains is found chained to a tree on a remote mountainside. As Brockton and his assistant Miranda dig deeper, they uncover warning signs of a deadly eruption of hatred and violence.
But the shocking case is only the beginning of Brockton’s trials. Mid-case, the unthinkable happens: The deadliest criminal Brockton has ever foiled—the sadistic serial killer Nick Satterfield—escapes from prison, bent on vengeance.
But simply killing Brockton isn’t enough. Satterfield wants to make him suffer first, by destroying everything he holds dear: Brockton’s son, daughter-in-law, grandsons; even Miranda, his longtime graduate assistant, now on the verge of completing her Ph.D. and launching a forensic career of her own.
The dangers from all directions force Brockton to question two things on which he’s based his entire career—the justice system, and the quality of mercy—and to wonder: can the two co-exist?
If not, which will Brockton choose in his ultimate moment of truth?