Black Mountain is a sleepy little place where the local police deal with one homicide a year, if they’re unlucky, and where people are still getting used to the idea of locking their doors at night.  Hardly the place for a serial killer to be stalking, but that seems to be the case when 11 year-old Emily Steiner’s corpse is found, with a bullet wound to the head and several small sections of skin removed from her frail, abused body. The crime bears disturbing similarities to the recent murder of young Eddie Heath in Virginia and Dr. Kay Scarpetta is called in to bring her forensic skills to the case. Fighting the natural assumption that Emiluy’s murderer is also the man who killed Eddie, Scarpetta’s instinct for the unusual is sharply awakened when another body is found…