Dr. Temperance Brennan unaccountably begins making mistakes.
Could the Cook County forensic anthropologist really have misidentified a murder as accidental death? An anonymous tipster insists on it to the deceased person’s well-connected relative, which sends Tempe up to Quebec where the body was originally found. The death now seems tied to the fates of three other elderly women, all of whom perished violently. Det. Andy Ryan, Tempe’s on-again/off-again boyfriend, tries to help, but her new lab tech is surly and uncooperative, and the lab’s latest hotshot is quick to point out her failings, which include an overlooked bullet track, phalanges gone missing and no notice of telltale tetracycline staining on the teeth. Eventually, Tempe realizes that her competence isn’t slipping; she is being sabotaged. Six cases will come into question, and her lab status will be thoroughly compromised before she almost succumbs to an abduction that leaves her trussed up and helpless in an old military burial ground.
Nearly as many plots as there are bones in the body, some to please medical pedants, some to appease ghouls, and some to show off the smart-mouth repartee Tempe (Devil Bones, 2008, etc.) has been indulging in since she got her own TV series on Fox.