In a house under renovation, a plumber uncovers a cellar no one knew about, and makes a rather grisly discovery — a decapitated chicken, animal bones, and cauldrons containing beads, feathers, and other relics of religious ceremonies. In the center of the shrine is the skull of a teenage girl. Meanwhile, on a nearby lakeshore, the headless body of a teenage boy is found by a man walking his dog.
Led by a preacher turned politician, citizen vigilantes blame devil worshippers and Wiccans and begin a witch hunt, intent on seeking revenge. Forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan — “five-five, feisty, and forty-plus” — is called in to investigate, and a complex and gripping tale unfolds in this deadly mix of voodoo, Santería, and devil worship.