Dr. Temperance Brennan, the wry, impassioned director of forensic anthropology for the province of Quebec, is driven to unravel shocking acts of violence by reading the bones of the dead. In the year since Tempe left behind a shaky marriage in North Carolina, work has often preempted her weekend plans to explore Quebec. But when an unidentified female corpse is discovered meticulously dismembered and stashed in garbage bags, Tempe detects an alarming pattern within the grisly handiwork - and her professional detachment gives way to a harrowing search for a killer in the city's winding streets. With little help from the police, Tempe calls on her expertise, honed in the isolated intensity of the autopsy suite, to investigate on her own. But her determined chase is about to place those closest to her - her best friend and her daughter - in mortal danger.