When medical examiner Sara Linton and police chief Jeffrey Tolliver take a trip away from the small town of Heartsdale - an escape from all the pressures which complicate their relationship - it should be a straightforward weekend at the beach. But they decide to take a detour via Jeffrey's hometown and things go violently wrong when Jeffrey's best friend Robert shoots dead an intruder who breaks into his house.
Jeffrey and Sara are first on the scene and Jeffrey's keen to clear his friend's name, but for Sara things aren't so simple. The sear marks around the bullet-hole don't tally with Robert's story. Robert's wife, Jessie, is incoherent and confused. And when Jeffrey appears to change the crime scene, Sara no longer knows who to trust.
Twelve years later, Sara and Jeffrey are caught up in a shockingly brutal attack which threatens to destroy both their lives. But they're not random victims. They've been targeted. And it seems the past is catching up with both of them ...
There are many ways to die. But some are more terrifying than others ...
A walk in the woods takes a sinister turn for police chief Jeffrey Tolliver and medical examiner Sara Linton when they stumble across the body of a young girl. Incarcerated in the ground, all the initial evidence indicates that she has, quite literally, been scared to death.
But as Sara embarks on the autopsy, something even more horrifying comes to light. Something which shocks even Sara. Detective Lena Adams, talented but increasingly troubled, is called in from vacation to help with the investigation - and the trail soon leads to the neighbouring county, an isolated community, and a terrible secret ...
Lena Adams has spent her life struggling to escape her past. She has only unhappy memories of Reece, the small town which nearly destroyed her. She's made a new life for herself as a police detective in Heartsdale, a hundred miles away - but nothing could prepare her for the violence which explodes when she is forced to return. A vicious murder leaves a young woman incinerated beyond recognition. And Lena is the only suspect.
When Heartsdale police chief Jeffrey Tolliver, Lena's boss, receives word that his detective has been arrested, he has no choice but to go to Lena's aid - taking with him his wife, medical examiner Sara Linton. But soon after their arrival, a second victim is found. The town closes ranks. And both Jeffrey and Sara find themselves entangled in a horrifying underground world of bigotry and rage - a violent world which shocks even them. A world which puts their own lives in jeopardy. Only Jeffrey and Sara can free Lena from the web of lies, betrayal and brutality that has trapped her. But can they discover the truth before the killer strikes again?