When a plane crashes high in the mountains of North Carolina, forensic anthropologist Tempe Brennan is called in to identify the victims. A chance discovery concerns her: a severed foot, well away from the main crash site. A deserted house close by is buried so deep in the woods that locals claim to know nothing of its existence. And her examination of the foot throws up more questions than answers. Before she can make any progress Tempe's professional standing is threatened. But she fears that, air tragedy aside, another corpse lies somewhere in the woods. Pitting herself against a conspiracy of silence, Tempe vows to bring justice for her mystery victim.