Death is altogether too great a part of life for Missouri death investigator Angela Richman.
Neither medical professionals nor law enforcement agents, death investigators occupy a peculiar niche in states where they serve. They examine the remains of those who die unexpectedly, suspiciously, or violently, collecting evidence to be used by coroners and police. Their job is not to investigate crimes, as Angela is constantly reminded. So she doesn’t usually investigate. Not when elderly Ruby Davis is found deceased in her living room with her finger partway hacked off. Not when plastic surgeon Robert Beningham Scott expires behind the wheel of his fancy sports car with other significant body parts waving in the wind. But when a corpse found in the woods is identified as that of high school track star Terri Gibbons, who disappeared months ago after a practice run, it’s hard for Angela to leave it be. Especially not when she finds a gum wrapper hidden in Terri’s shoe with a note scrawled on it implicating a prominent landowner in her death. Angela’s growing obsession with nailing Terri’s killer puts her own job and that of her best friend, Detective Jace Budewitz, in jeopardy. Does Angela care that much about the demise of a girl she never met? Or is she using Terri’s murder to tamp down her feelings about the passing that haunts her most of all: her husband’s fatal heart attack?
Viets produces chills with a murder hunt turned on its head.